Uttar Pradesh will vote in seven phases like in 2017 and also in the same way with the onset of polling phases from the western part of the state to the eastern end but the Election Commission of India (ECI) has tweaked the phases to ensure a similar number of seats poll in each of the seven phases.
In the 2017 assembly elections in UP, the number of seats that went to the polls in each phase ranged widely from 73 seats in the first phase to 40 seats in the last phase. In the present election schedule, the range has been narrowed with the maximum of 61 seats polling in the fifth phase to a minimum of 54 seats in the last phase. Uttar Pradesh assembly has a total of 403 seats.
A government functionary said this would be helpful in the pandemic time with a similar number of seats polling in each phase. This is also expected to be easier logistically for parties who can devote similar resources to each phase. “In 2017, the first three phases had 52 per cent of the seats. This time, 42 per cent of the seats will be covered in the first three phases, making it a more equitable election over 7 phases,” a political leader from UP told News18.
This re-jig could throw up interesting formulations over the seven different phases though. Like, four districts — Hathras, Firozabad, Etah, and Kasganj – which polled in Phase-1 in 2017 will now be polling in Phase-3 in which the rest of the Yadav stronghold districts are polling. Pilibhit and Kheri districts – which are the in the focus over the Lakhimpur Kheri farmers case – will now poll in Phase 4 instead of Phase 2 as in 2017 elections.
Hardoi, Unnao, Lucknow and Sitapur districts polled in Phase 3 in 2017 but will poll in Phase 4 last time while Barabanki will be polling even later in Phase 5. A dozen districts which polled in Phase 4 the last time will also move around this time – with eight of them polling in Phase 3 and the rest four in Phase 5. Mau and Azamgarh districts, which are the strongholds of Samajwadi Party, will poll in the last phase this time instead of Phase 6.