Battle of ballots for last half of Hindi heartland begins today with 4th phase of polls

With battle of ballots for half of the Hindi heart land over, all is set for next half, starting with the fourth round of Assembly polls in the state today for which the state saw hectic campaigning by top leaders of all political parties. Votes will be cast for 53 seats spread over 12 districts, mostly in the Bundel Khand region. The first three phases have covered 209 of the 403 seats of the Assembly polling for which began on February 11 and completed on February 19. The Assembly seats in Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s constituency Rae Barely will also go to polls in the fourth phase which saw a highly charged campaigning. The barbs and sparks flew thick and fast as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi, sister Priyanka Gandhi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav took part in the electioneering. BSP supremo Mayawati cris-crossed the districts involved and sought to engage the voters. Besides, Mr Modi, party chief Amit Shah also addressed several rallies During the heat and dust of the campaigning, the standard of political discourse took frequent plunge as no holds-barred attack and counter attacks between the rivals took place. Mr Modi addressed several meetings in the Bundelkhand region. His graveyard remark made at a rally on Sunday snowballed in a major controversy resulting in a bitter confrontation between the ruling and the Opposition parties which accused the Prime Minister of trying to polarise the voters, while BJP leaders trashed their criticism saying he had nothing that should earn him this blame. Mr Modi’s description of BSP as Behenji Sampatti Party drew a furious remark from the BSP chief who retaliated by describing Narendra Damodar Modi as ‘Mr Negative Dalit Man’.

The Prime Minister also continued his SCAM (SP-Congress and Mayawati) attack during the campaign. Akhilesh was not far behind when he advised Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan not to ‘’advertise for the donkeys of Gujarat’’ in obvious reference of his appearance in an ad of the Gujarat Tourism Department when Mr Modi was chief minister of the state. He drew strong reaction from the BJP for his ‘’cheap remarks’’. Prominent among those whose fate will be sealed tomorrow are Independent MLA and minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya from his traditional seat Kunda in Pratapgarh, senior SP leader Reoti Raman Singh’s son Ujjwal Raman Singh from Karchna, Aradhna Misra, daughter of senior Congress leader Pramod Tiwari, from Rampur Khas(Pratapgarh) and Utkarsh Maurya, son of BSP turncoat Swamy Prasad Maurya from Unchahar seat. In 2012 polls, the SP had bagged 24 out of the 53 seats involved in the first phase. The BSP had come second with 15 seats, the Congress had got 6, and the BJP 5.

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