The Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh are likely to be brought forward from next year to December this year.
The 2012 elections were held in February. The Election Commission is thinking of bringing forward the elections as February-March is examination time, say sources in the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Samajwadi Party. The tenure of the present Assembly ends on 7 March 2017. There is also speculation that elections in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur will be clubbed with UP as was done in 2012.
In 2012, elections in UP were held in seven phases, between 4-28 February, while polling for Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa were held from 28 January to 3 March. The counting of votes in all the four states was held on 4 March.
An SP leader claimed that the party is ready to face the elections any time and that they have already selected candidates for 143 of UP’s 403 Assembly constituencies. These 143 candidates have been declared in seats represented by Opposition parties. The party is in the process of finalising the names for the seats currently held by it. The SP has 229 members in the 403-member state Assembly.
Sources say that the Akhilesh Yadav government is trying to complete big projects such as the Lucknow-Agra Expressway and the Lucknow Metro fast so that these can be showcased before the elections as major achievements.
Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party has not announced its candidates, although sources claim that it has quietly finalised the candidates for all 403 constituencies. Mayawati has appointed the party’s potential candidates as Vidhan Sabha Prabharis, who will be made BSP’s candidates later.
The BJP and the Congress will finalise their candidates just before the elections. Congress, however, has announced Sheila Dikshit as its chief ministerial candidate. State BJP spokesperson Chandra Mohan said, “We are fully prepared as far as our organisation is concerned. Our booth committees are in place. We are going to hold a meeting of all block presidents where they will be given training.”