Lucknow: In politically crucial Uttar Pradesh, focus will not only be on the performance of political parties but also on the VIPs seats, including those of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.
The poll results of the state, which has 80 Lok Sabha seats, can make or mar the prospects of any political party at the Centre.
There will be many seats in the state which will be keenly watched by political observers as any setback there might have great political repercussions.
“UP is the most politically crucial state and it’s results set the tone and tenor of national politics. All eyes will be here, especially on VIP seats where prominent leaders are in fray,” senior journalist JP Shukla said.
“Whether the state is going to give the next prime minister or not is the answer everyone will be looking for with the performance of political parties,” he said.
While the outcome of the prime minister’s Varanasi seat will be watched globally, other seats like Amethi and Raebareli of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi respectively will be of equal interest to the people.
During the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Modi’s slogan that “I have not come here…Mother Ganga has called me” struck an emotional chord with the people, who elected him as their representative.
During his recent visit, Modi invoked Lord Vishwanath, saying, “I might have been called here to fulfil his dream to see the city developed.”
In Amethi, Union minister Smriti Irani will challenge Rahul Gandhi. She has been spending a lot of time with the voters there, making the BJP workers feel that she will make the Congress chief uncomfortable this time.
Sonia Gandhi has been representing Rae Bareli since 1999, while Rahul Gandhi has been an MP from Amethi since 2004.
The seats of Kannauj, held by SP chief Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav, Badaun, held by Dharmendra Yadav (SP), and Azamgarh, from where SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav won in 2014, will also be crucial.
While Dimple Yadav and Dharmendra will contest from their traditional seats, Mulayam Singh, this time, will be contesting from the Mainpuri seat.
Akhilesh Yadav has decided to contest from Azamgarh after a formal request from the district unit.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh is once again in the fray from the Lucknow seat, a BJP stronghold.
Bollywood star Hema Malini is contesting again from Mathura, while the Ghaziabad seat held by Union minister Gen VK Singh (retd) will be also be on the list of constituencies to watch.
Another important seat will be of BJP leader Varun Gandhi, who is likely to leave the Sultanpur seat and contest from Pilibhit, represented by his mother and Union minister Maneka Gandhi.
While these polls will be a litmus test for the SP-BSP alliance, it would be a challenge for the BJP to repeat its 2014 performance of winning 73 seats, including two of Apna Dal.
The prestige of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya will be at stake on seats like Gorakhpur and Phulpur, won by them in 2014 but subsequently frittered away to opposition in the bypolls last year.
Charisma of Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will also be tested in these polls and she is trying to woo voters by reaching them. Prestige of Congress state chief Rajbabbar, who is contesting from Fatehpur Sikri will also be at stake.