Why Phase 4 won’t be easy for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh

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The fourth phase of the election will see 13 seats in Uttar Pradesh go to the polls on Monday, with at least three seats being keenly watched. The BJP made a clean sweep of all these seats in the last election and such is the party’s confidence in its sitting MPs that except for two constituencies, they have been given tickets on all seats.

The Samajwadi Party hopes to benefit from unity within the family- as Shivpal Yadav is back in the fold and comfortably so.

From Kannauj, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav is in the fray. This was not a decision his party took at the onset but the fact that Yadav jumped in at the last moment is testimony to the fact that his party is playing to all its strengths.

For Yadav, this is also a personal battle as the last elections saw his wife Dimple being defeated by Subrat Pathak of the BJP. Pathak is once again the BJP candidate. That Yadav is not just relying on personal popularity was made clear when he held a joint rally with Rahul Gandhi in the constituency.

In Lakhimpur Kheri, minister for state (home) Ajay Mishra Teni is once again in the fray. Teni’s son is alleged to have crushed four farmers and one journalist in a protest rally in 2021. Though it appears all has been forgotten, the incident could still sway votes.

In Unnao, the mercurial Sakshi Maharaj is in the fray. Facing him is Annu Tandon who was formerly a Congress MP. Tandon enjoys huge personal popularity in the district and has nurtured the constituency regardless of her electoral status.

The BJP candidate in Bahraich, a seat which has a sizeable Muslim electorate, is facing an uphill battle as the INDIA bloc will benefit from vote polarization. In Etawah, the electorate is unhappy with the BJP candidate Ramshankar Katheriya who is from Agra, and thus an outsider. The local BJP unit is also not enthused by his candidature and this has made it an uphill task.

The BSP, despite having seemed to wrap up its larger fight, could make things difficult for the SP in Shahjahanpur, Hardoi, Mishrikh and Bahraich. In the last election, both parties fought together as part of the Mahagathbandhan.

As things stand,  the BJP is unlikely to have it as easy as it did in the last election.

(With inputs from agencies)

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