The fifth phase election in Uttar Pradesh is a matter of prestige for Congress as fate of its senior leaders, including mother-son duo of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, will be decided by voters on Monday.
Congress national president Rahul Gandhi is contesting for fourth time in a row from Amethi while for Sonia, it is the sixth election – she had won twice from Amethi and thrice times from Rae Bareli.
All eyes will be on Amethi where Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani is giving a tough fight to Rahul Gandhi though in Rae Bareli, it is expected to be a cakewalk for Sonia Gandhi.
Another constituency where the prestige of Congress is at stake is Dhaurahra from where Jitin Prasada is in the fray.
Dhaurahra had made headlines when the elections were announced as there were reports that Jitin Prasada might join the Bharatiya Janata Party as he was not willing to contest from Dhaurahra.
Jitin Prasada had denied the report but political grapevine remained busy with reports that he might shift to Lucknow. This never happened and scotching all rumours, Jitin Prasada decided to contest from Dhaurahra constituency.
Shahjahanpur has been the karmabhoomi of the Prasada family. Jitin’s father Jitendra Prasada was the biggest political name of that area. Once Shahjahanpur was declared as reserved constituency, Prasada family made Dhaurahra their karmabhoomi.
In 2009, Jitin won election from Dhaurahra but lost to Rekha Verma of the BJP in 2014. This time also the BJP has fielded Rekha Verma, who is facing people’s ire for her non-performance, making the way easy for Jitin. The only obstacle in his way is Arshad Siddiqui, who is SP-BSP-RLD alliance candidate contesting on SP ticket.
This constituency also assumes importance because a dacoit-turned-politician Malkhan Singh is contesting election on the ticket of Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia).
Tanuj Punia, son of senior Congress leader PL Punia, is contesting from Barabanki while BJP discard and sitting MP from Bahraich, Savitribai Phule is in he fray this time on Congress ticket. “I am confident to win election this time too from Bahraich. BJP is anti-Dalit while Congress is their true saviour,” she told this reporter.
Another seat where Congress is pinning hopes on Faizabad from where former Congress state president Nirmal Khatri is giving a tough fight to sitting BJP MP Laloo Singh.