The polls open today in Bundelkhand and parts of Southern UP. Bundelkhand is one of the poorest areas in Uttar Pradesh, and one which does not benefit from irrigation (unlike other parts of the Gangetic plain). Bundelkhand used to be a BSP stronghold, and the SP may struggle to get its message ‘Kaam bolta hai’ across, in a region that has suffered from continuous drought over the last years.
Phase 5 of the polls will start on Monday, February 27. Phase 5 districts are all located north of Lucknow. Bahraich, which is one of them, will be blessed with two rallies today and tomorrow. Akhilesh Yadav is giving a speech later today and Narendra Modi will be coming tomorrow (after an initial visit earlier this year had been canceled due to the fog). Modi has come several times to Bahraich and the district makes sense as a campaign stop for the BJP as it has a large Muslim minority (close to 30%). The BJP’s chances in all of Bahraich’s constituencies remain slim however. In Matera constituency, sitting MLA and Minister Yasir Shah will likely easily win and in Bahraich constituency proper, the real fight is between Yasir Shah’s mother, Rubab Sayda, and Ajeet Pratap Singh, the BSP candidate.