After hectic lobbying for tickets to their kith and kin, senior leaders in Uttar Pradesh are busy with making political endeavors to ensure the victory of candidates. Take the example of senior Congress leader and Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma. Most of the assembly constituencies going to polls during the first phase on February 8 are considered as his fiefdom.

The Congress gave priority to his wishes while distributing party tickets. Whether it is Barabanki, Baharaich, Sravasti or Ambedkar Nagar, he wielded his influence while selecting the candidates. His son Rakesh Verma is also contesting from Daryaganj assembly constituency. Naturally, his prestige is at stake. The poll results of these seats will determine Beni’s political clout with the party. He is not only guiding every candidate but also devising separate strategy for different constituencies.

On being asked about Basti Sadar assembly seat, people say Jagdambika Pal is contesting the election. It is worth mentioning that Pal’s son Abhishek Pal has been fielded from Basti Sadar seat. Certainly Jagdambika has had greater responsibility to ensure victory of his son. Given the importance of the seat, he has been conducting massive campaign as if he himself is fighting the election.

Congress MP form Faizabad Parliamentary constituency Nirmal Khatri is under tremendous pressure as the party high command entrusted him with the task of ensuring the victory of party candidates hailing from his home district and a RLD candidate.

The mentors of candidates have to also face litmus test. For example, the Congress fielded Dr Masood from Ambedkar Nagar’s Tanda seat. Earlier, the Samajwadi Party had finalized his ticket for the same seat. But the SP had replaced him by Azeemulhaq Pahalman due to last minute change in its political equation.

Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council Ahmed Hasan, who is considered to be influential in Ambedkar Nagar, had managed to convince the party high command to field Pahalman from Tanda seat. Pahalman’s victory has become a prestige issue for Ahmed Hasan.

Tarabganj seat of Gonda, where Avadhesh Pratap Singh is contesting, is also witnessing the same story. Avadhesh is in good books of senior SP leader Brajbhushan Singh who is leaving no stone unturned in swinging public mood in favour of his loyalists. SP candidate from Sidhauli seat of Sitapur, Manish Rawat, is son-in-law of regional MP Sushila Saroj. This election will determine her influence in the constituency.

Senior SP leader Waqar Ahmad Shah is busy with making strategy for victory of his son from Matera seat of Baharaich. Several seats in first phase has become important for Bharatiya Janata Party vice president and Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Katiyar and party’s state unit chief Surya Pratap Shahi.

Katiyar strived hard to secure party ticket for Anuradhara Chaudhary from Haraiya seat while Shahi was instrumental in fixing ticket for BJYM’s state unit chief Harish Dwivedi from Basti Sadar. Basti Sadar seat will prove to be a litmus test for Shahi as Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath had openly opposed Dwivedi’s candidature. Party MP and strongman Ramakant Yadav is making all efforts to send his son Arun Yadav to the Assembly House from Jalalpur seat.

As far as the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party is concerned, the decision of MP Jugal Kishore, zonal coordinator, while selecting the candidates is also at stake as the party had replaced several declared candidates on his recommendations.

Akbarpur seat is of great importance for senior BSP leader Ram Achal Rajbhar whose son Sanjay Rajbhar has been fielded from this constituency. Same is the case with party MP Ashok Rawat whose brother Manish Rawat is contesting from Misrikh Assembly seat. Vinay Shankar Tiwari is contesting from Bansi Assembly seat, who is guided by his father Hari Shankar Tiwari, a former minister.

JNN