LUCKNOW: The BJP has made a good start in Uttar Pradesh bypolls with early leads showing the ruling party ahead in three seats; its ally, Apna Dal, is ahead in another. The opposition, led by Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj party, is ahead in two and one seat respectively. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s BJP government is leading in Lucknow Cantonment, Ghosi and Balha seats, with the Apna Dal ahead in Pratapgarh. The Samajwadi party is ahead in Rampur, the bastion of controversial MLA Azam Khan, and Zaidpur, with former Chief Minister Mayawati’s BSP is leading in Iglas.
The BJP, which claimed a massive 312 seats on its own in 2017 Assembly elections in the state (325 with its allies, which included the Apna Dal), has declared itself candidate of winning all 11 Assembly seats in which bypolls were conducted on October 21.
“We are going to win all 11 seats,” Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Maurya was quoted in a report by news agency.
Eight of the 11 seats being contested are currently held by the BJP. The Samajwadi Party and the BSP are defending one seat each, which makes it all the more crucial that they hold on to these – Rampur for the Samajwadi Party and Jalalpur for the BSP.
The fight for Rampur, the home seat of nine-time MLA Azam Khan, is being closely watched. The seat fell vacant after he was elected to parliament from the Rampur parliamentary seat in April-May polls. The party has fielded Azam Khan’s wife, Tanzeem Fatima. She is up against the BJP’s Bharat Bhushan Gupta.
Over the past few months UP Police have filed as many as 84 cases against Azam Khan, with allegations ranging from land grab and encroachment to the theft of farm animals. Last week the veteran politician claimed he had been targeted “because I have neither sold you (the people of Rampur) nor myself”.
The Ghosi seat became vacant after BJP MLA Phagu Chauhan resigned following his appointment as Governor of Bihar.
In total, bypolls were held for the Gangoh, Rampur, Iglas, Lucknow Cantonment, Govind Nagar, Manikpur, Pratapgarh, Zaidpur, Jalalpur, Balha, and Ghosi. Of these, Iglas, Zaidpur and Balha are reserved seats.
There are a total of 109 candidates contesting these bypolls, according to the UP Chief Electoral Officer. The seat with the most number of candidates is Lucknow Cantonment, with 13 names on the ballot.
Source By NDTV