Several top leaders in fray in Uttar Pradesh’s fourth phase pollingMay 3rd, 2009 - 6:53 pm ICT by IANS
Lucknow, May 3 (IANS) Several top political leaders, candidates with criminal backgrounds and multi-millionaires are among the 314 contestants in the fray for 18 of Uttar Pradesh’s 80 Lok Sabha seats going to polls in the fourth round May 7.
Among these were chiefs of three major political parties - Mulayam Singh Yadav of Samajwadi Party (SP) from Mainpuri, Rajnath Singh of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) from Ghaziabad and Ajit Singh of Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) from his family bastion, Baghpat.
Other prominent leaders in the fray are BJP rebel Kalyan Singh, contesting from Etah with all out support of the SP — his one-time sworn political foe, SP rebel Raj Babbar, contesting as a Congress candidate from Fatehpur-Sikri and Mulayam Singh’s son Akhilesh Yadav fighting from both Kannauj and Firozabad.
Of the 314 candidates in the fray, as many as 40 have criminal antecedents. According to a study carried out by Election Watch, the BSP tops the list with seven nominees facing grave criminal charges, followed by four from the SP and three each from BJP and Congress.
The rest belong to smaller political outfits or are independents. The larger chunk of these were allegedly involved in heinous crimes including murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping for ransom, extortion and criminal assault.
Just as the BSP tops the list of candidates with criminal backgrounds, it is also ahead among the 86 multi-millionaires engaged in Thursday’s contest with 14 of them fighting on its ticket. Of the rest, 11 are from the SP, 10 each from the BJP and the Congress and the rest from smaller parties.
Strangely, the SP has not fielded any nominee against the BJP chief in Ghaziabad, where he faces Amarpal Sharma of the BSP and S.P. Goel of the Congress. The BJP too has apparently gone soft on Mulayam Singh in Mainpuri against whom it has fielded political non-entity Tripti Shakya.
The reason for her candidature is unclear as Shakya, who is a well-known ‘bhajan’ singer, neither belongs to Mainpuri nor does she have any political background. The SP supremo, therefore, has only to contend with the BSP’s Vinay Shakya.
“In any case, with two Shakyas in the fray, the vote of the community is bound to get divided, thereby benefiting Mulayam Singh,” according to Prabhat Chaturvedi, a prominent advocate in Mainpuri.
While RLD chief Ajit Singh is once again banking on the strength of his caste support in Baghpat, Kalyan Singh is riding high in Etah, where he is virtually the SP candidate despite contesting as an independent. Not only has the SP extended full support to him, but Mulayam Singh has gone to the extent of addressing joint rallies with him in several constituencies going to polls Thursday.
Evidently, caste equations were well above every other factor that could influence the poll in this region, largely bordering Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi. Clearly, it was the dominance of caste that had brought the two on a common platform for the first time since the five-phase election commenced on April 16, even though the two had signed an alliance deal way back in March.
The proximity between Kalyan Singh and Mulayam Singh is clearly attributable to the fact as both Yadavs and Lodhis (Kalyan Singh’s caste) were the dominant castes in at least 11 of the 18 constituencies going to polls Thursday.
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Tags: ajit singh, bhartiya janata party, bjp chief, congress candidate, criminal assault, criminal backgrounds, fatehpur sikri, firozabad, fourth phase, ghaziabad, heinous crimes, kannauj, lok sabha seats, murder attempt, political foe, raj babbar, rajnath singh, rld, Samajwadi Party, shakya