Uttar Pradesh witnesses searing campaign amid scorching heat

Searing heat and dusty winds failed to impact the campaigning by the leaders of various political parties in Uttar Pradesh during the ongoing elections. 

Uttar Pradesh witnesses searing campaign amid scorching heat
Source: IANS

Lucknow, May 30 (IANS) Searing heat and dusty winds failed to impact the campaigning by the leaders of various political parties in Uttar Pradesh during the ongoing elections. 

With 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh, campaigning has been aggressive and intense, with allegations and accusations being hurled to and fro with alarming regularity.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his election campaign from Meerut on March 31. Though the exact number of rallies he addressed in Uttar Pradesh is not yet known (the UP BJP spokesperson said that the data will be released later by the PMO), the Prime Minister addressed as many as seven rallies in two days.

In his rallies, the Prime Minister directly attacked the opposition on issues like Muslim appeasement, spurning the invitation to the Ram temple, cutting the quota of SC/ST and OBCs in reservation, lack of development and protection of the mafia.

He also listed the welfare schemes rolled out for the poor by his government.

Interestingly , the Prime Minister did not campaign in Lucknow where Rajnath Singh is a candidate, Sultanpur where Maneka Gandhi is contesting and Amethi and Raebareli which are crucial for the Congress.

After the Prime Minister, the BJP’s biggest star campaigner has been UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who has addressed an estimated 190 rallies and sammelans in 60 days.

CM Adityanath began his election programme with a Prabuddh Sammelan in Mathura on March 27 and since then, there has been no stopping him.

He has held rallies, public meetings and roadshows both within Uttar Pradesh and beyond, spanning a dozen states across the country up to the final phase.

The 12 states/UTs where CM Adityanath has engaged with the people to seek support for the BJP and NDA candidates are Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jammu, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Delhi, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, and Chandigarh.

In his speeches, CM Adityanath has been even more attacking towards the opposition, especially on issues related to Muslim appeasement and the mafia in the state. This was apparently aimed at strengthening his own image as a Hindu leader.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah also campaigned vigorously in Uttar Pradesh (number of rallies not yet known) but followed the tone and tenor set by the Prime Minister. He chose an interactive communication style with the people, which went down well with them.

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav made a slow start in his campaign but went on to address 85 rallies in the state. In the early stages, Akhilesh stuck to his PDA – Picchda, Dalit, Alpasankhyak—formula but later started addressing issues related to farmers and the youth.

Toward the end of the campaign, he synchronised with the issues raised by Congress MP Rahul Gandhi. He managed to attract sizeable crowds in all constituencies.

Akhilesh's wife Dimple Yadav confined herself to Mainpuri till May 7, the third phase, since she was a candidate there. For the first time, she campaigned single-handedly, assisted only by her daughter Aditi, since the other family members were busy in their respective constituencies.

After polling was over in her constituency, Dimple campaigned in about a dozen constituencies and even held a much-talked-about roadshow in Varanasi, the PM's constituency, with Priyanka Gandhi.

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi has addressed a dozen meetings in Uttar Pradesh. In Amethi and Raebareli, he addressed meetings after his nomination and that of Amethi candidate K L Sharma.

He campaigned in Bulandshahr, Amroha, Kanpur, Jhansi, Allahabad, Phulpur, Deoria, Bansgaon and Varanasi too.

Rahul, in his election speeches, did not respond to allegations, especially of Muslim appeasement, by BJP leaders but stuck to his narrative that included MSP for farmers, jobs for youth and money for women in the BPL category.

It was Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, however, who chose to respond to charges levelled against her family by BJP leaders.

Priyanka confined her campaigning in UP, mainly to Raebareli and Amethi.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge launched the campaign by addressing a joint press conference with Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow. Thereafter he was seen at campaigns in Amethi and Raebareli. Kharge, who is as yet unfamiliar with Uttar Pradesh’s political terrain, did not campaign very actively here.