The election campaign for the 49 assembly seats spreading in 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh in the fifth phase will come to an end on Tuesday evening. The fate of a total of 829 candidates including 87 women and a eunuch will be locked in the EVM on the day. This phase covers Bihad, Bundelkhand and industrial hub like Kanpur and Firozabad. The crucial phase forced the political heavyweights to camp in these constituencies to woo the voters to ensure victory of their party candidates.

The ruling Bahujan Samaj Party is under tremendous pressure to retain the seats of the region which it had bagged in 2007, while its arch rival Samajwadi Party is striving hard to save its fiefdom. Meanwhile the national parties like the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, which are pinning hopes, have also intensified their efforts to win the election. A total of 13 senior leaders’ prestige is on the stake in the 13 districts. They are directly or indirectly involved in the poll fray. Some of them are contesting the elections while some leaders are influential in the constituencies and they shoulder the responsibilities to ensure the victory of their candidates. .

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti, former BSP minister Badshah Singh, the current BJP candidate from Mahoba constituency, Union Minister of State for Rural Development Pradeep Jain ‘Aditya’, BSP heavyweight Naseemuddin Siddiqui and former minister Ranjit Singh Judev’s prestige is at stake in the Bundelkhand region. Similarly, the poll results of Mainpuri and Jaswant Nagar will directly affect SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and Shivpal Singh Yadav’s prestige.  Mulayam himself represents Mainpuri in Lok Sabha and his brother Shivpal is re-seeking his election from neighboring Jaswant Nagar seat. The BSP is also trying to infiltrate into the Mulayam’s fiefdom.

Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal and Congress’ UP election media campaign committee chairman Raj Babbar’s prestige is also on stake in the industrial hub of Kanpur and Firozabad respectively. Raj Babbar had given a major jolt to the SP in 2009 Parliamentary by poll by defeating Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple in Firozabad.

BJP leader Sakshi Maharaj, former UP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, Jaiveer Singh and BSP’s UP unit chief Swami Prasad Maurya’s political stature will also be directly affected by the poll results of this phase. Maurya’s daughter Sanghpriya Maurya is contesting from Aliganj seat in Etah. Mulayam’s stronghold spreads from Firozabad to Aurai where the SP performed well despite BSP wave in 2007.  

The BSP made a clean sweep in Bundelkhand region by winning 15 seats out of 21. The BJP is trying hard to make its presence felt in Bundelkhand region where the saffron party had failed to open its account in 2007. This time the party has fielded Uma Bharti and Badshah Singh from Charkhari and Mahoba respectively.

The Congress is also of the view that the party will win more number of seats in Bundelkhand region for which the Centre had released Rs 7266 crores meant to transform the region as per the guidelines of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi.

Taking a view at 2007 poll results, the prestige of the BSP is also at stake in these areas. The party had won 27 seats, SP 14, BJP 6, Congress 4 and others 2 seats. This time four seats were abolished due to delimitation.

It would be interesting to see the performance of Kalyan Singh led Jankranti Party (Nationalist). All the eyes will be on Etah which is considered to be stronghold of the former UP Chief Minister. Certainly, Kalyan’s party appears to be acting like party-popper for many parties especially the BJP.