Amidst tight security arrangements, eight Lok Sabha constituencies in Uttar Pradesh will go to polls in the second phase of election on Thursday.
The polling on Thursday will seal the fate of 85 candidates contesting on different symbols.
Chief Electoral Officer of UP, L Venkateshwarlu said in Lucknow on Wednesday that all arrangements had been completed for the smooth conduct of polling in the second phase.
“We have asked the district authorities to provide hassle-free environment for voters to increase polling percentage and also ensure facilities like drinking water, shed, power and other basic amenities at all booths so that voters did not face inconvenience during voting,” the Venkateshwarlu said.
Out of the 85 candidates in the poll fray in the second phase, 19 have declared criminal cases against them (about 23 per cent) while 14 have declared serious criminal cases, as per election watchdog ADR. Out of all candidates contesting the polls, a total of 34 (about 41 per cent) are crorepatis.
The constituencies going to poll in the second phase are witnessing triangular contests between the Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress and Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance.
The constituencies going to polls in the second phase are Agra, Aligarh, Amroha, Bulandshahr, Fatehpur Sikri, Hathras, Mathura and Nagina.
While caste and communal polarisation play a crucial role in the general elections in UP, the major issues of jobs, agricultural stress can swing votes in the favour of the opposition parties.
Former cine star and BJP candidate from Mathura, Hema Malini, is the richest candidate in the second phase with total assets of over Rs 250 crore. BJP candidate from Amroha, Kanwar Singh Tanwar, has assets worth over Rs 182 crore. The candidate with lowest assets is Ambedkari Hansuram Ambedkari, who is fighting as an Independent candidate from Agra. He has declared total assets worth Rs 1,200.
Phase two polls in western UP are crucial for the Narendra Modi-led BJP, which won all these seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
Riding the crest of the Modi wave, the BJP along with ally Apna Dal had won on as many as 73 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP.
The saffron party had also won all seats that went to polls in phase 1, including Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Bijnor, Meerut, Baghpat, Gautam Buddha Nagar and Ghaziabad, in 2014.
In UP, Akhilesh Yadav’s SP is contesting on 37 seats while Mayawati’s BSP has fielded its candidates on 38 seats. Their ally Ajit Singh’s RLD is fighting on three seats. The Congress is fighting on its own.
Some high-profile seats going to polls in this phase are Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Mathura, Aligarh and Nagina.
The UP Police have deployed over one lakh security personnel in 10 communal sensitive districts. The central para-military forces personnel conducted flag marches in the constituencies to instil confidence among the voters.
Liquor shops will remain closed till the end of polling in these constituencies while inter-state borders with Delhi, Haryana and Uttarakhand have been sealed.