State Finance Minister Suresh Khanna, several other ministers in the Yogi Adityanath government, and Samajwadi Party`s sitting MLA Mohammad Azam Khan are among those in the fray for 55 seats in the second phase of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh for which voting will be held on Monday.
The voting will begin at 7 am and end at 6 pm. As many as 586 candidates are in the fray for the 55 Assembly seats in the second phase. Two crore voters will decide the fate of 586 candidates. The seats are spread across nine districts of Saharanpur, Bijnor, Moradabad, Sambhal, Rampur, Amroha, Budaun, Bareilly, and Shahjahanpur.
Of the 55 assembly constituencies which are going to the polls in this phase, the BJP had won 38 in 2017, Samajwadi Party had bagged 13 and the Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had won two seats each. The SP and the Congress had contested the last Assembly election in an alliance.
Among the prominent faces whose fate will be sealed in this phase are Samajwadi Party leader Mohammad Azam Khan from Rampur, the BJP leader, Uttar Pradesh Finance Minister Suresh Khanna from Shahjahanpur, Jal Shakti state minister, and BJP leader Baldev Singh Aulakh from the Bilaspur constituency.
Dharam Singh Saini, a Yogi Adityanath government minister who switched to the SP before the polls, is trying his luck from the Nakud Assembly seat of Saharanpur district. The BJP has fielded Mukesh Chaudhary against Saini while Sahil Khan is a candidate of BSP, and Randhir Singh Chauhan is from Congress for the Nakud seat.
Against Azam Khan, BJP has fielded Akash Saxena, BSP has fielded Sadaqat Hussain, and Congress has fielded Kazim Ali Khan from Rampur. While Azam Khan is contesting these polls from his stronghold Rampur Assembly seat, son Abdullah Azam has been fielded from the Swar seat of Rampur. He has been pitted against Haider Ali Khan, the heir of another political family, the Nawabs of Rampur, who is trying his luck on the ticket of Apna Dal (Sonelal), a BJP ally. Dharampal Singh, the sitting MLA from BJP, is in the fray from Bareilly`s Aonla assembly seat, while MLA Radha Krishna Sharma, who won the last election from BJP from Bilsi, is in the fray on Samajwadi Party ticket this time from Aonla.
Dharampal Singh is a four-time MLA, while Sharma has been a two-time MLA.BSP has given the ticket to Laxman Prasad and Congress has given the ticket to Omveer Yadav. Minister of State for Urban Development Mahesh Chandra Gupta from Badaun, and Minister of State for Secondary Education Gulab Devi from Chandausi is also in the poll fray. In the 2017 Assembly polls, Gulabo Devi won from the same seat.
Samajwadi Party has fielded Vimlesh Kumari and BSP has fielded Rannvijay Singh against him while Congress has fielded Mithilesh Kumari. In the Tilhar seat of Shahjahanpur, the SP has played bets on the rebel BJP MLA Roshan Lal Verma. At the same time, BJP has fielded Salona Kushwaha from and BSP has fielded Nawab Faizan Ali Khan while Congress has given the ticket to Rajneesh Gupta.
Mehboob Ali, who was a minister in the Samajwadi Party government, is trying his luck again from the Amroha seat while BJP has fielded Ram Singh, BSP has fielded Mohammad Navaid Ayaz and Congress has fielded Salim Khan as its candidate. MLA Naresh Saini, one of the seven Congress winners in 2017, is now a BJP candidate from Behat seat of Saharanpur district. SP`s Omar Ali and BSP`s Rais Malik will also be trying their luck from Behat. The BSP is also expected to benefit from the substantial presence of Dalits, especially Jatavs.
Meanwhile, Congress has fielded Poonam Kamboj. The first phase of the seven-phase Uttar Pradesh polls was held on February 10. The results will be declared on March 10.