UP: 6th, biggest, poll phase on Tuesday

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As elections inch to a close in Uttar Pradesh, the stage is all set for the sixth and the biggest phase of elections in the state.

The sixth phase of elections on Tuesday will be held in 68 Assembly segments across 13 districts in western Uttar Pradesh, an area that has a large concentration of jats and Muslims and is popularly referred to as Jatland.

The districts where polling will be held in this phase are Saharanpur, Prabuddha Nagar, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Panchsheel Nagar, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Mahamaya Nagar, Mathura and Agra.

The number of candidates in this phase is 1103, including 85 women candidates, and the number of eligible voters is 2.12 crores.

The number of polling centres in this phase is 22,137. After delimitation, 19 new seats have been created in this phase and 18 seats have been abolished. Nearly 37 candidates in the sixth phase have criminal cases against their names and 58 percent of the contestants are crorepatis.

A key contestant in this phase is Manvendra Singh Teotia, a farmer leader who allegedly provoked the farmers’ agitation in Bhatta Parsaul. Mr Teotia, who is contesting the Jewar seat in Gautam Buddha Nagar on a JD(U) ticket, is presently in jail and his family is campaigning for him.

Meanwhile, elaborate security arrangements have been made for thesixth phase of polling since a sizeable number of seats in this phase fall under the communally sensitive category.

According to EC officials, two Quick Reaction Teams (QRT) will also be positioned at every police station level to meet out any emergency and the borders touching Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand have been sealed to check entry of unwanted elements.

Central forces are also holding ‘Flag Marches’ in the sensitive areas to instil confidence among the voters.

Rahul attacks Advani over graft

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, on Monday, lashed out at senior BJP leader L.K. Advani and said that the latter had taken out a yatra against corruption across the country but could never see the rampant corruption in Uttar Pradesh and BJP-ruled states like Uttarakhand and Karnataka.

Addressing a rally in Bareilly, Mr Gandhi said that when the time came to support the Lokpal Bill and fight effectively against corruption, the BJP members sat laughing in their seats instead of pressing the right button.

He said that it was the Congress alone that fought against corruption and took stern action against anyone who was found indulging in corruption. He said that now that elections are on, leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav are busy promising the moon for the people.

“He is promising free electricity and say that he will turn Bundelkhand into Israel. He has been chief minister of UP thrice —why did he not give free electricity then? He wants to turn Bundelkhand into Israel but when the region faced drought, Mulayam Singh found no time to visit the people there,” he said.

Addressing the minorities in Bareilly, which has a sizeable Muslim population, Mr Rahul Gandhi said that the congress had given 4.5 per cent reservation to backward Muslims. The Congress Party set up the Sachchar Committee and implemented its recommendations.

The Centre sent money for scholarships of children in minority communities but the money went missing in UP even though it reached the minorities in Kerala, Assam and Andhra Pradesh. “Mulayam Singh claims to be a leader of Muslims but what has he done for Muslims in the past two decades when he was chief minister thrice.

He now says the 4.5 per cent reservation is insufficient— why did he not give more when he was chief minister?” he asked.

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