UP Elections 2017: polling for final phase underway

A total of 14,560 polling centers have been set up for over one crore 41 Lakhs electorates to cast their votes.

The iconic dialogue - picture abhi baaki hai, mere dost - from Shah Rukh Khan's Bollywood movie "Om Shanti Om" could well describe the current poll scenario in Uttar Pradesh where a hung Assembly is a possibility. The BSP has fielded its nominees for all seats. Ghazipur, Jaunpur and Bhadoi are the other districts where polling is underway. While the SP is contesting 31 seats, its ally the Congress is in race for the remaining seats. Maximum 24 candidates are in contest from Varanasi Cant seat and minimum 6 are from Kerakat in Jaunpur district. Polling will be held between 7 am and 5 pmfor all seats except in three Naxalite- affected constituencies - Dudhi and Robertsganj in Sonebhadra district and Chakia in Chandauli district. Inter state border with Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have been sealed and patrolling by security forces have been intensified.

While Goa and Punjab voted on February 4, Uttarakhand went to polls on February 15.

In the last ditch battle for eastern Uttar Pradesh Prime Minister Narendra Modi staged camped in Varanasi for three days. Meanwhile, the BSP will form the next government in Uttar Pradesh, leaving the BJP and the SP-Congress alliance at the second and third places, BSP chief Mayawati said on Monday.

Joined by Akhilesh's wife Dimple, the two leaders held a roadshow, hours after Modi arrived in the city and paid obeisance at the Kashi Vishwanath and Kal Bhairav temples with much fanfare. Mayawati said Modi and his ministers are camping in Varanasi and their teams led are moving from house to house, knocking on doors for votes. Apart from Modi BJP has brought out all its big guns, appearing to line up all its Hindi-speaking ministers for the UP election campaign.

Taking potshots at the Congress over its run of losses in the recent polls, he said one day research would have be done to find out if it ever existed, as it is "disappearing from everywhere". Party leaders fear both the RLSP and LJP could even break away from the ruling alliance, if the BJP's performance in Uttar Pradesh is not stunning. He left Varanasi after a rally in Rohaniya. "Each of our star campaigners has addressed 3-4 rallies daily".

The blitzkrieg is over.

The election results will be declared on March 11.

  • Joey Payne