Rakesh Kumar Verma might be contesting from Dariyabad Assembly seat of Uttar Pradesh on Congress ticket but his victory is apparently a prestige issue for his father and Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma. The Union Minister happens to be a prominent Kurmi (a dominating backward caste in Awadh region) leader. Owing to his influence on voters in the region, Verma had a major say in ticket distribution for the seats falling in this area.

The Union Minister’s influence was a major factor in allotment of ticket to his son for Dariyabad seat in Barabanki district. Observers say that the victory for Rakesh is going to be easy owing to his father’s political clout. Beni Prasad Verma himself represents the adjacent Gonda seat in the Lok Sabha.

The Union Steel Minister’s prestige is at stake not only in Dariyabad but in seven other assembly constituencies of his parliamentary segment Gonda in the first phase.

The ruling Bahujan Samaj Party has fielded Vivekananda Pandey from the prestigious seat, while Rajiv Kumar Singh is contesting on the Samajwadi party ticket. The Bharatiya Janata Party is striving hard to make the battle four cornered by reposing faith on Sunderlal Dikshit.

Rajiv Kumar Singh won 2002 and 2007 Assembly polls on the SP and BJP tickets respectively on Dariyabad seat. It would be interesting to see whether he can make hat trick on the seat or not. Interestingly Beni Prasad quit the SP after 2007 Assembly result.

A total of 55 seats out of 403 are going to poll on February 8 for the first phase of state assembly elections. These constituencies are spread over 10 districts of the state- Sitapur, Gonda, Basti, Bahraich, Balrampur, Barabanki, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Siddharth Nagar and Shravasti.