Campaigning for 1st phase of UP polls ends Thursday evening

Lucknow, (IANS) : Campaigning for the crucial first phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh for 73 seats will end on Thursday evening, an election official said.

The seats are spread across 15 districts in the western part of the state, including Muzaffarnagar and Shamli that were singed by communal riots in 2013.

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The other districts are Baghpat, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar, Hapur, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Mathura, Hathras, Agra, Etah, Firozabad and Kasganj.

Polling in these seats would be held on February 11.

Stakes are high for all parties as this phase is likely to set the tone for the elections in the remaining six phases which would end on March 8.

There are 2.57 crore eligible voters in the first phase which includes more than 24 lakh first-time voters in the age group of 18-19 years and 1.17 crore women.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party did exceedingly well in the region in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) shared 24 seats each in the 2012 assembly elections.

The BJP won 11, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) nine and the Congress five seats in the last assembly polls.

This time around the Congress is contesting the polls in alliance with the SP.