SP-Cong find going tough in first two phases in UP

Lucknow, April 3 (IANS) The 16 seats going to the polls in the first two phases of Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh pose major challenges for INDIA bloc members Samajwadi Party and the Congress.

In the first phase, elections will be held on April 19 on eight seats, namely Saharanpur, Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Nagina (SC), Moradabad, Rampur and Pilibhit -- dominated by Muslims and Dalits.

The BJP had bagged Muzaffarnagar, Kairana and Pilibhit seats in 2019, the SP Moradabad and Rampur while the BSP won three, namely Saharanpur, Nagina and Bijnor.

The Samajwadi Party had contested the 2019 election in alliance with the BSP.

In the second phase, eight parliamentary constituencies -- Amroha, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Bulandshahr (SC), Aligarh, and Mathura – will be going to polls on April 26.

Seven seats were won by the BJP in 2019 while the BSP could win only one seat -Amroha.

Dalits and Muslims will play a crucial role in deciding the winners in this phase but the BJP now has a major advantage of Jat votes, following its alliance with the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD).

The BJP’s gain is the SP’s loss because of the RLD factor. The SP is contesting 11 seats in these phases while the Congress has got five.

The Congress is hoping to win Saharanpur where it has fielded Imran Masood and Amroha where it has put up BSP turncoat Danish Ali.

The SP, on the other hand, is banking on Muslim consolidation to win seats in these phases.

However, the party is facing trouble over ticket distribution in the two Muslim-dominated constituencies of Moradabad and Rampur.

SP President, Akhilesh Yadav, has cancelled the ticket of sitting MP, ST Hasan and opted for Ruchi Veera on the insistence of senior leader Mohd Azam Khan.

As a result, ST Hasan has announced that he will not campaign for the SP candidate in this constituency. His supporters have not joined Ruchi Veera’s campaign.

A similar situation prevails in Rampur where the party did not field Asim Raza – a candidate of Azam Khan’s choice. The SP candidate is Mohibullah Nadvi and Azam Khan has withdrawn his supporters from the campaign.

--IANS

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