- Swing constituencies under special focus of parties
- Victory margin in 47 assembly seats was less than 5,000 votes in the last assembly election
- A little vote-swing could help corner the seats in the polls this year
The stage is set for the next month's assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. The state is the country's most populous and one of the most politically crucial states. BJP, Apna Dal, and Nishad Party will jointly contest polls on 403 seats. While Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has hinted at being the CM candidate for the party in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly election. Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati, both former CMs of Uttar Pradesh, are also leaving no stone unturned to woo the voters. Meanwhile, almost all major political parties are paying special attention towards 47 assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh where the victory margin was less than 5,000 votes in the last assembly election. According to the Election Commission data, of these 47 seats (out of total 403), 23 were won by BJP, 13 by Samajwadi Party, eight had gone to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and one each had fallen in the kitty of Congress, Apna Dal, and Rastriya Lok Dal.
Considering the fact that a little vote-swing could help them corner these seats, parties have been meticulously selecting right candidates there to improve their tally. "All political parties are giving special focus on these seats thinking that with a little more push, they can win these seats and increase the tally. Victory is everything in politics but margin matters.
"Higher margin shows acceptability of the leaders so political parties this time are finalizing their candidates keeping these factors in mind,” political analyst Siddharth Kalhans said. “Internal surveys of the parties on a specific seat are playing an important role in finalization of candidates," he said.
The BJP is confident that their Hindutva plus development push in the current elections could fetch them good results across seats. Akhilesh Yadav too, with his newly forged alliances with some caste-based regional parties, is upbeat that results would be in his favour across constituencies. The SP is buoyant over defection of Backward castes leaders like Swami Prasad Maurya, Dara Singh Chauhan, and Dharam Singh Saini to its side.
OBC section constitutes around 50 per cent of the state's population and is an important factor in tilting the balance in the high-octane battle for ballots in UP. In 2017 polls, the lowest victory margin was on Dumariyaganj seat in Siddharth Nagar, where BJP candidate Raghvendra Pratap Singh had won by a slender margin of 171 votes defeating BSP’s Sayeda Khatoon.
BJP's Avatar Singh Bhadana, who has now joined RLD, had also won by 193 votes beating his nearest rival Liyakat Ali of SP. Shyam Sunder Sharma of BSP had won Mant seat in Mathura by 432 votes defeating his rival, RLD candidate Yogesh Chowdhury. There were three seats where the victory margin was less than 1,000 votes. These were Gohna, Rampur Maniharan (Saharanpur), and Mubarakpur (Azamgarh).
In Gohna, BJP's Sriram Sonkar had won by 538 votes beating his rival Rajendra Kumar of BSP, while in Rampur, Maniharan Devendra Kumar Nim of BJP had scored victory by 595 votes over BSP's Ravindra Kumar Malhu. In the Mubarakpur seat, BSP's Shah Alam alias Guddu Jamali had won the seat by a margin of 688 beating the SP's nominee. This time Guddu has walked out of BSP and is trying for an SP ticket.
Another case is Kannauj (SC) seat which BJP had lost in 2017 by 2,500 votes. The saffron party has this time fielded IPS-turned-politician Asim Arun from the constituency. When asked about the victory margins and party's preparations for winning such seats which it lost in 2017, SP MLC Rajpal Kashyap said, "We are taking all steps to convince voters. From ticket selection to ground survey all aspects are being taken care of.
"As the resentment is brewing among people against the BJP, we are set to gain on all such seats. Also, our cadre remained active in all such constituencies and was with the people during difficult times, including COVID pandemic," Kashyap said. BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said despite all opposition gimmicks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath are still hot favorites among the voters. "We are going to form the next government after March 10. Work done by both the centre and state governments are before all to see," he said. The seven-phased polls in Uttar Pradesh will take place on February 10, 14, 20, 23, 27, March 3 and 7.