Published: Sun, February 12, 2017
Medical | By Dorothy Lyons

PM Modi to address rally in Badaun

Reacting at the first phase of polling in western Utter Pradesh, the UP chief minister said he was happy with initial voting trend in first phase of the polling.

During an election rally in Aligarh on Sunday, PM Modi had remarked that the BJP "storm" had forced Chief Minister Yadav to desperately seek the help of anything, "even a pole", to retain power.

It's the first chance for Modi to see if abolishing 86% of the cash circulating to crack down on corruption is hurting his appeal.

On Saturday, Gandhi further said that Modi had not fulfilled the promises he and his party made during the elections in 2014.

The BJP had hoped to capitalize on Modi's radical currency ban a year ago that aimed at striking at rich people with illegal cash and empowering the poor.

By noon, almost half of those eligible had cast their vote. "SP and BSP are not options for people".

He also promised more jobs and smartphones to the youth and good quality pressure cookers to women. "We want a government that can get rid of corruption", said one young man.

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People tend to vote along traditional caste and religious lines, and successive governments have exploited communal divisions to fire up their base and poach voters from opponents.

"The situation gets very bad here sometimes - there is fighting between groups, between Hindus and Muslims", said Bhagwati Prasad, who sells material for Hindu cremation ceremonies outside a temple in Lucknow.

The complexity of such politics makes it hard to predict outcomes in India's first-past-the-post system. The timing of the move has been questioned by many and if the party loses, a blame game is likely to begin.

But this time, buoyed by its success in the general election, the BJP is making a serious bid for victory. Observers say this opens up the BJP to a defeat similar to that in Bihar in 2015.

Addressing Yadav and Gandhi as 'do kumbe', the PM advised the people to stay away from the Congress and the Samajwadi Party, saying that they had looted UP and India.

Both Modi and Shah slammed Congress and Samajwadi Party, saying Rahul ran a campaign against the SP Government and wondered as to what happened overnight that they were embracing each other.

"Badaun has been the base of Mayawati and now it is known to be the base of Samajwadi Party".

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