The Uttar Pradesh polls have entered the last leg, with all eyes on the electoral battle in and around Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency. Voting for the seventh and final round will be held on March 7 for Varanasi and its eight adjoining districts.
Cabinet Minister Anil Rajbhar’s Fate to be sealed
The seventh phase will decide the electoral fate of many senior ministers of the Yogi Adityanath-led UP government. The list includes several senior ministers, including Backward Classes Welfare Minister Anil Rajbhar, Culture Minister (Independent Charge) Neelkanth Tiwari, Housing and Urban Planning Minister Girish Yadav, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for stamp, court fee and registration department Ravindra Jaiswal.
Other prominent ministers are Minister of State for Power Ramashankar Singh Patel, Minister of State for Cooperatives Sangeeta Yadav Balwant and Minister of State Sanjeev Gond.
BJP rebel Dara Singh Chauhan also in fray
The last phase will also decide the fates of BJP rebels like former Cabinet Minister Dara Singh Chauhan, who is now contesting as an SP candidate. Durga Prasad Yadav is another important candidate contesting the election in the seventh phase. Other well known candidates are- Alambadi Azmi, Shailendra Yadav from Lalai, Vijay Mishra, Omprakash Rajbhar, Tufani Saroj, Dhananjay Singh and mafia Mukhtar Ansari’s son Abbas.
Besides Varanasi, the last round of polling would also cover Azamgarh and Vindhyachal regions. The 54 seats going to polls on March 7 are in Azamgarh, Mau, Jaunpur, Ghazipur, Chandauli, Varanasi, Mirzapur, Bhadohi and Sonbhadra.
Locked in a fierce poll battle with the Samajwadi Party in particular, winning a majority of seats out of the 54 constituencies in the end round, is a must for the BJP to continue its sway in the 2024 general election. Riding on the “Modi wave”, the BJP-led coalition had won in all the eight assembly segments of Varanasi in 2017 and so was the case in the majority of the seats in the neighbouring districts.