UP Polls: Second phase of voting begins for 55 seats

By Samriddhi Bisht

Lucknow: Voting for 55 assembly seats spread across nine Uttar Pradesh districts started on Monday, February 14 at 7:00 A.M. This is the second phase of the assembly elections in the state.

As many as 586 candidates are in the fray in this phase with the seats spread across Saharanpur, Bijnor, Moradabad, Sambhal, Rampur, Amroha, Budaun, Bareilly, and Shahjahanpur districts.

Of the 55 seats, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had won 38 in 2017 while the Samajwadi Party bagged 15 and the Congress won 2. The Samajwadi Party and the Congress had contested the last assembly elections together.

Of the 15 seats won by the Samajwadi Party, Muslim candidates had emerged victorious on 10. The areas going to polls in this phase have a sizeable Muslim population influenced by religious leaders of the Barelvi and Deoband sects.

These areas are considered strongholds of the Samajwadi Party.

The prominent faces in the fray in this phase include Dharam Singh Saini, a Yogi Adityanath government minister who had switched to the Samajwadi Party before the polls. Saini is trying his luck from the Nakur Assembly seat.

Senior Samajwadi Party leader Mohammad Azam Khan has been fielded from his stronghold Rampur while UP's Finance Minister Suresh Khanna from Shahjahanpur.

Khan's son Abdullah Azam has been fielded from the Suar seat. He has been pitted against Haider Ali Khan, the heir of the Nawabs of Rampur, who is trying his luck on the ticket of the Apna Dal (Sonelal), a Bharatiya Janata Party ally.

Haider Ali Khan is the grandson of former MP Noor Bano.

UP minister of state for Jal Shakti Baldev Singh Aulakh is contesting from Bilaspur, minister of state for Urban Development Mahesh Chandra Gupta from Badaun, and minister of state for Secondary Education Gulab Devi from Chandausi.

The former mayor of Bareilly, Supriya Aron, is contesting from Bareilly Cantonment on Samajwadi Party ticket.

With the elections being held amid the Covid scare, additional chief electoral officer Brahmdev Ram Tripathi said all necessary arrangements have been made to ensure free, fair, transparent, and Covid-safe polling.

Polling for the first phase of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections was held on February 10. The results will be declared on March 10.

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