Across Uttar Pradesh, if the Samajwadi Party’s “Kaam Bolta Hai” slogan has to submit to the voters’ acceptability test in real terms, it is in the state’s all 12 districts, stretching from Lucknow to Etawah and Mainpuri to Sitapur and others. Regarded as the SP’s bastion, the area witnessed only over 61 percent turnout in the third phase of polls for 69 assembly seats–a low turnout in comparison to what was witnessed during the first and the second phase polls. The polling percentage was 64.2 in the first phase, while it was over 65 percent in the second phase. As many as 826 candidates from the SP, BSP, the BJP, RLD and Independents were in the fray, whose fate were decided by 2.41 crore voters, including 1.10 crore women and 1,026 belonging to the third gender category.
In the last assembly polls, the SP had bagged 55 out of 69 seats spread across 12 districts of the area. This time when feud within Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family torn asunder its proverbial unity so much so that the SP patriarch addressed only one or two rallies, including that of his “Chhoti Bahu,” Aparna Yadav who contested from Lucknow cantonment, the party’s bastion remains intact or gets demolished has to be seen when results are out on March 11.
For more than three decades, however, the area has remained the SP’s pocket borough because of large presence of Yadav voters here. Their loyalty towards this party has been undisputed so much so that in the 2012 polls, Dimple Yadav, wife of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, got elected from Kannauj seat unopposed.
During the 2014 parliamentary polls, however, under the Modi wave, everything was swept aside, except for Mainpuri and Kannauj Lok Sabha seats. No party or leader has been able to create any wave this time in this most populous state where a large number of voters live in rural areas.
Yet if the third phase of the polls could be remembered by the people, it would be remembered because of three essential reasons: First, large number of high profile candidates; second, large turnout of women voters and third, Akhilesh Yadav’s refusal to campaign for his uncle, Shivpal Yadav, who contested from Jaswantnagar assembly constituency. Also, it would be remembered as a poll where in many of SP candidates worked at cross purposes. Supporters of Shivpal Yadav were reported to be campaigning against the party’s official candidates.