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UP polls: BJP gets its act ready with first list of candidates around Makar Sakranti

New Delhi, January 11

The ruling BJP, which on Monday set the process of finalising candidates for the crucial Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, is expected to announce the first list around Makar Sakranti.

However, despite her “declining vote share”, there is an eager wait for BSP supremo Mayawati to reveal her hand.

The BSP is expected to field “quite a few Muslims” in UP, especially in the regions directly influenced by the second largest religious bloc in the state. Any situation like this will only work to the advantage of the BJP as most of the opposition, including its chief rival Samajwadi Party, the Congress, and the AIMIM, are also eyeing this crucial vote bloc.

The BSP has “finalised” names on the majority of seats and also “intimated the selected candidates”, according to sources.

The BJP, which held the meeting of its state election committee yesterday, held discussions on the first three phases, which includes regions like the western UP, Rohilkhand, Braj and Yadav dominated belt of Etawah, Mainpuri and Bundelkhand. The sources said the state unit sifted the feedback received from the grass-root level and forwarded it to the central leadership for final approval.

Though the BJP wants to announce the majority of names as soon as possible, there are some seats on which it needs to tread cautiously, especially the ones where key rival Samajwadi Party has an upper hand.

This is where the BSP and its vote share come in.

The BSP has not allied with any party and is contesting all the 403 seats alone. With a “declining” vote share projection, it is projected to win only around eight to 16 seats only. However, with a dedicated vote share it has the potential to spoil the chances of many.

While in 2007 the minority community voted largely for the BSP and for the SP in 2012, in the last elections its votes got split amongst the SP-Congress combine, the BSP and the Peace Party to the advantage of the BJP. The Muslims are the second-largest religious bloc and constitute around 20 per cent of the population and this time around Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM is also in the contention.

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