Home India Politics Campaigning for first phase of UP polls ends, security tightened

Campaigning for first phase of UP polls ends, security tightened

Lucknow, (IANS) : Campaigning for the 73 assembly segments that go to polls in the first phase of the crucial Uttar Pradesh assembly elections on February 11 came to an end on Thursday evening.

All political parties threw in their best on the last day of canvassing to rally support for their respective candidates.

The star campaigners on Thursday included Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, state Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, his MP wife Dimple Yadav, Rajya Sabha member of the Samajwadi party Jaya Bachchan, Gorakhpur MP Mahant Yogi Adityanath, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, cine actress Naghma and former state minister and close Mayawati aide Naseemuddin Siddiqui.

Police officials, meanwhile, have braced themselves for the polls in the western Uttar Pradesh, which an official conceded would be tough.

A few incidents of poll violence, including an attack on BSP candidate and two murders, have already cast an ominous shadow on elections in the region as the place is already a communal tinderbox.

The Election Commission has said all preparations are in place for the elections. Chief Election Commissioner Naseem Zaidi has assured of best arrangements for the crucial phase of polling.

About 2.57 crore voters, including 1.17 crore women, will exercise their franchise in the first phase. Of the 2.57 crore eligible voters, over 24 lakh are in the age group of 18-19.

BJP leaders said they were confident of sweeping the region as they did in the Lok Sabha polls in 2014.

In the 2012 assembly elections, the Samajwadi Party and the BSP bagged 24 seats each. The BJP won only 11, RLD got 9 and the Congress secured 5 seats. This time, The Congress has allied with the SP.