In UP Phase 3 Polls Today, Akhilesh Wrests to Regain Bastion; Here are News18’s Best Ground Reports

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In the potato belt of Uttar Pradesh and the ‘Yadav land’, the contest is fierce in 59 constituencies across 16 districts where former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav is fighting to regain the Samajwadi Party’s (SP) bastion from Karhal seat in Mainpuri. traveled through 14 districts in the state over the last few weeks that cover around 70 seats, which include the ‘Yadav Belt’, the urban and rural seats of Kanpur, Unnao and the sensitive district of Lakhimpur where farmers were run over by the convoy of a BJP minister’s son.

In the 59 seats going to polls today, the BJP won 49 in the 2017 assembly election while the SP had to stay content with just eight seats. One seat apiece went to the Bahujan Samaj Party and Congress.

The BJP has fielded Union minister SP Singh Baghel against Akhilesh from Karhal constituency. “Myth will definitely break,” says Baghel when asked about Mainpuri being called ‘Yadavland’.

As many as 627 candidates are in the fray in the third phase of UP elections, in which over 2.15 crore people are eligible to vote.

News18 visited these districts to ascertain the barometer of the elections. Here are the best ground reports from the hot seats:

BJP, SP in ‘Kaante Ki Takkar’ in Yadav Land and UP’s Potato Belt

Akhilesh Yadav is contesting from the nearby Karhal seat while his uncle, Shivpal Singh Yadav, is fighting from Jaswantnagar after a family patch-up that is expected to revive the fortunes of the Samajwadi Party in the ‘Yadav Belt.’ In the region where one often sees young boys on motorcycles wearing red caps, the often repeated statement from locals is: “Ab Ladai Suraksha Aur Samman Ke Beech Hai (The fight is between security and pride)’. Read Full Story

Karhal Seat now as VIP Area

The sleepy town of Karhal in the ‘VIP’ Mainpuri district of Uttar Pradesh has become the “most VIP” one with Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav contesting from here in the third phase of UP elections. Yadav, the long-time MP of Mainpuri under which the assembly seat falls. With a strong Yadav population, Karhal has for three decades been an SP fortress. Read Full Story

‘Where are the Jobs?’ Ask People in Kanpur’s Maharajpur

Satish Mahana has won for 30 years from Maharajpur in Kanpur. As the person in charge of getting industries to Uttar Pradesh, he is faced with one question – where are the jobs? Akhilesh Yadav has been attacking the Yogi Adityanath government over unemployment and has promised 1 crore jobs in UP by 2027 if he comes to power. Mahana told News18 industries and jobs are complementary to each other. “Industry will come, jobs will come… Why are Brahmos and Samsung coming to UP now? The major change is in law and order. Electricity is now provided.” Read Full Story

Getting Past the Ghost of Hathras

For more than a year, Hathras became synonymous with the rape and murder of a Dalit girl who was cremated in the dead of the night. The case brought women’s security to the fore again in Uttar Pradesh. Anjula Mahaur, the BJP candidate from Hathras raised the women’s security plank strongly in her campaign. But Mahaur’s candidature saw a spirited protest by local BJP workers who termed her an “outsider”. Read Full Story

Jaswantnagar Seat: ‘Ghar Wapsi’ for Shivpal Yadav

Shivpal Yadav, brother of Mulayam Singh, spoke to News18 in his native Saifai village before going to file his nomination from the Jaswantnagar seat on the Samajwadi Party symbol. He has won the seat five times and his new party is in an alliance with Akhilesh Yadav’s SP in these elections, bringing back the much-needed family unity that the party missed in the 2017 elections. At his residence in Saifai, the slogans of “chacha-bhatija” rent the air, in reference to Shivpal and Akhilesh Yadav. Read Full Story

A Battle for Prestige in Etawah

Amid the SP’s battle against the BJP, some locals and veteran leaders have voiced their concerns on the ticket distribution. Some feel it might be a calculated move by SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, while others feel it may hurt the party’s prospects. The BJP has fielded Sarita Bhadauria from Etawah Sadar while the SP has fielded Sarvesh Shakya. The BSP has given ticket to Kuldeep Gupta ‘Santu’, who had contested on SP ticket in 2017. Read Full Story

It’s Outsider vs Local in Kannauj

The perfume capital of India, Kannauj, was in the spotlight recently for the raids conducted by the GST department on a perfumery businessman in the city. It made news again for a power-packed poll contest. The BJP has fielded former IPS Asim Arun against Samajwadi Party’s three-time incumbent MLA Anil Dohre in this UP city. The point of interest for all the parties, meanwhile, is the Kannauj Sadar seat where former IPS Asim Arun has been fielded by the BJP against SP’s Anil Dohre. Read Full Story

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