Sitapur (UP):  A close contest is on the cards for nine Assembly seats here with Samajwadi Party and BSP, which had shared the honours in the last elections, trying to outdo each other and BJP and Congress trying to make inroads.

SP managed to edge out arch-rival BSP by the odd seat out of the nine in the 2007 hustings. The delimitation exercise will also make things different this time.

In Sitapur Sadar seat, SP's Radhey Shyam Jaiswal, who had completed a hat-trick of victories in 2007, is vying for a fourth term. He is challenged by Haji Jalis Ansari of Congress, first-timer Mohammad Ayub from BSP and Saket Mishra of the BJP.

The newly-constituted Sewta seat is also in limelight this time with former Union minister Ammar Rizvi (Congress), tea company owner Naval Kishore Tandon (BJP) and Ranjana Bajpai (BSP) pitted against SP's Mahendra Pratap Singh alias Jheen Babu.

In Mishrik seat, sitting MLA Rampal Rajvansi of SP will try to retain his seat against BSP's Manish Rawat and Ashish Kumar of BJP.

Debutant Manjari Rahi, the daughter-in-law of former Union minister Ramlal Rahi, will try her luck from the Hargaon seat. She faces three other women candidates -- Ramhet Bharti (BSP), R P Chowdhury (SP) and BJP's Kiran Bala Chowdhury.

In Mohali, former BSP member Gaya Prasad is fielded by Congress against SP's Anoop Gupta and first-timer Mahesh Kumar Mishra of BSP, while BJP's candidate is Bhanu Pratap Singh.

Anoop is the son of heavyweight Om Prakash Gupta, whose name figured on the CBI probe in the multi-crore food grain scam.

In all total over 26.60 lakh voters including over 12 lakh women, will exercise their franchise in the district to decide the fate of 121 candidates on February 8.