Lucknow: Phase three voting for Lok Sabha elections would be held across the country on Tuesday. Of the 116 constituencies going to polls are ten seats of western Uttar Pradesh, Ruhelkhand and central UP.
Among these seats, Rampur, Sambhal, Moradabad, Bareilly and Pilibhit are the contests to watch out for. While all these seats had gone to BJP in 2014, now the saffron party is faced with SP-BSP-RLD alliance.
Here’s a look at these seats which could prove tricky for BJP:
Rampur: It is a straight fight here between SP’s Azam Khan and recent recruit to BJP, Jaya Prada. With barbs flying thick and fast, the contest here has got ugly, so much so, that the Election Commission had to step in and bar Khan for 72 hours from campaigning. Khan has been an MLA for as many as nine times while Jaya Prada is no novice either; she has twice been an MP from here. A little over half the population here is Muslim. The main issue here this times is Azam Khan, says local media. Dr Nepal Singh of BJP held this seat after 2014 elections. But his ill health and old age tipped the balance in Jaya Prada’s favour. Already, 11 cases have reportedly been filed against Khan for his vitriolic tongue.
Moradabad: This constituency has never favoured one particular party. It has reposed faith in candidates of Congress, Lok Dal, Janata Dal, Jansangh, SP and BJP. In 2014, BJP won here for the first time. BJP has fielded sitting MP Sarvesh Singh again. Singh has been an MLA for five times and 2014 was his first victory on a Lok Sabha seat. Congress has fielded Imran Pratapgarhi while the alliance has pitted SP candidate Dr S T Hassan. Local media reports suggest that Dalit votes could play the deciding role here. This time, PM Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah have campaigned for BJP candidate. This could very well be a triangular battle.
Bareilly: Another triangular battle is in the offing in Bareilly. BJP heavyweight, seven-time MP and Union Minister Santosh Singh Gangwar is defending his seat here. Against him are Congress candidate and former MP Pravin Singh Aron. Alliance candidate is Bhagwat Saran Gangwar, a five-time MLA.
Sambhal: In 2014, BJP won this seat with the narrowest margin, say reports. The party has this time fielded Parmeshwar Lal Saini. Against him are alliance candidate Shafiqur Rahman Burq, Congress candidate Major Jagpal Singh and Shivpal Yadav’s Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party’s Kara Singh Yadav. There are 12 candidates in all in Sambhal. The alliance would try its level best to keep Yadav and Dalit votes intact.
Pilibhit: In Pilibhit, the battle lines are drawn between BJP and the alliance. BJP has fielded Varun Gandhi from his mother Maneka’s traditional seat this time while the SP-BSP-RLD alliance has Hemraj Verma against him. Congress hasn’t fielded any candidate from Pilibhit. SP and BSP have never won from here so this time, they are trying their best to break the jinx.