Lucknow, May 4: Electrifying campaigning for the fifth phase of polls in 14 seats of central Uttar Pradesh covering important seats like Nehru-Gandhi borough of Amethi-Rae Bareli, along with the state capital, ended on Saturday evening for the May 6 elections.
The campaigning in this phase by Congress and BJP was intensive bringing forth the strong rivalry between the Congress and the SP-BSP alliance.
The fate of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh (Lucknow), Congress president Rahul Gandhi (Amethi) and Union Textile minister Smriti Irani ( Amethi) along with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi (Rae Bareli) will be decided in this phase.
Former Union Minister Jitin Prasada (Dhaurara) and former UP Congress president Nirmal Khatri( Faizabad) will also try their luck in this phase. Faizabad, the religious epic center of the country, will also go to polls in the phase.
The campaigning in the Nehru-Gandhi borough of Rae Bareli-Amethi witnessed a massive roadside and street corner meetings by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is holding the citadel of her mother and brother. However, Rahul and Sonia too are campaigning in the constituencies frequently.
Sonia has not campaigned anywhere in the country except for Rae Bareli, while Priyanka, too, was concentrating in UP only.
Several senior Congress leaders from all over the country also made their presence felt in Amethi and Rae Bareli. On the last day of the campaigning, BJP chief Amit Shah held an impressive road show in Amethi in support of Smriti Irani. Statement of Priyanka saying that Congress was contesting strongly in several seats and where they are weak, the party is helping the opposition candidates, created controversy with BJP alleging that Congress has turned into a 'vote katwa party'. On the other hand, BJP continued its campaigning in a big way in this phase too. PM Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, along with UP CM Yogi Adityanath and several union ministers and senior leaders, touched upon almost all the 14 constituencies.
The PM addressed meetings in Sitapur, Banda, Kaushambi, Bahriach and Barabanki in this phase while Mr Shah also campaigned in Barabanki ,Bahriach, Mohanlalganj and Lucknow.
The CM, too, addressed meetings in almost all the poll-bound constituencies. Actor-turned-politician Sunny Deol, who is BJP candidate from Gurudaspur, Punjab, held a road show in Rae Bareli in support of BJP candidate Dinesh Pratap Singh against Sonia Gandhi.
The SP-BSP alliance held joint rallies in Barabanki and Sitapur, while they also carried out separate campaignings in several seats.
The electioneering in the state capital was also electrifying where Rajnath Singh, SP's Poonam Sinha and Congress' candidate Acharya Pramod Krishnan are in fray. Poonam Sinha, along with star daughter Sonakshi Sinha and husband Shatrughan Sinha, had campaigned too vigorously in Lucknow. There are a total of 182 candidates in the fray in this phase. The constituencies going to polls in the fifth phase are: Dhaurara, Sitapur, Mohanlalganj, Lucknow, Rae Bareli, Amethi, Banda, Fatehpur, Kaushambi, Barabanki, Faizabad, Bahriach, Kaiserganj and Gonda. In the fifth phase of polls, a total of 2,47,09,515 electorate, including 1,14,48,883 female voters will cast their votes at 28,072 booths.
Amethi has the highest number of 27 candidates in the fray in this phase, followed by 15 each in Lucknow, Rae Bareli and Gonda, 13 each in Barabanki and Faizabad, 12 each in Kaushambi, Kaiserganj and Mohanlalganj, 10 each in Bahriach and Fatehpur and lowest of 8 each on Banda and Dhaurahra Lok Sabha constituencies. Polling for 5th phase will be held on May 6 between 0600 hrs and 1800 hrs. The number of candidates with criminal background in the fifth phase of elections has gone up to 24 per cent while 36 percent are crorepatis. A total of 43 candidates have declared criminal cases against them with 40 of them having heinous cases against them in this phase. Of the total candidates in this phase, 64 are crorepatis.
Sarita S Nayar, an independent candidate from Amethi, has the maximum number of 34 cases which include 87 serious sections of the IPC. In two cases, she had been convicted too.
Ms Poonam Sinha is the richest candidate in the fifth phase with an asset of Rs 193 crore. (UNI)