Anxious UP candidates pray, BJP orders ‘laddoos’ ahead of vote count

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Lucknow, March 9 (IANS) All the three major parties in Uttar Pradesh expressed confidence of emerging victorious from the recent assembly polls, the BJP even ordering ‘laddoos’ and bands ahead of Saturday’s vote count. But many contestants had anxiety writ large on their faces and prayer on their lips, and sought divine benevolence after a hectic, two-month campaign.

Preparations for ballot counting have been completed at the 75 centres across the state, said poll officials.

At first, postal ballots will be counted as counting begins at 8 a.m. After that the seals of the electronic voting machines (EVM) will be broken in front of agents of various parties and contestants and the Election Commission officials.

Ahead of the D-Day, even the most optimistic of candidates are keeping their fingers crossed and many have taken to praying to their favourite gods or undertaking pilgrimages with their families.

Anurag Bhadouria, the Congress candidate from Lucknow East, said he had gone to the Sai Baba temple in Maharashtra’s Shirdi and is hopeful that “my Guru would see me through”.

Archana Dixit, wife of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate Yogesh Dixit, says she is all set for the vote counting day and the family plans to visit the famous Hanuman Setu temple here after victory.

“We have done a lot of hard work and am sure that victory will be ours,” she said, adding the family flew to Nepal after the polling in Lucknow and visited the famous Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu to seek blessings of Lord Shiva.

Former Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who switched loyalties to the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the polls and re-contested from Lucknow Cantt, says she has full faith in the people of her constituency and is relaxed about her win.

“I have been meeting people, visiting my favourite temple and am confident that with the track record as a legislator and the charisma of Prime Minister Modi, I will emerge victorious,” she said.

BJP’s state women’s wing chief Swati Singh, who contested the election from Sarojiningar constituency in the state capital, said she had undertaken a pilgrimage of Banke Bihari temple in Mathura.

“I have been travelling a lot, campaigned for the party and have also visited the Bhrigu temple in Ballia, praying for my victory,” she said.

BSP candidate Shankari Singh is busy with ‘hawans’ and is hopeful of a “good victory, God willing”, while Aparna Yadav, the younger daughter-in-law of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav who is contesting her first elections from Lucknow Cantt, has just returned from Patna Saheb and is optimistic about her win. “I have worked hard in my constituency and am sure people will reward me with a victory,” she said.

Owing to the high-voltage campaign spearhead by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP workers and leaders are confident of getting a “majority” in the state assembly. Laddos have been ordered and music bands requisitioned for the vote counting day.

BJP state General Secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak said the leadership has already said it would be a “vijay ki Holi” so they are all geared up for March 11, while Samajwadi Party legislator Udayveer Singh, a close associate of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, expressed similar sentiments. But he said the celebration part is for the candidates to take care of.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, known for her low profile style of celebrating victories, will stay at her sprawling Mall Avenue residence and has asked cadres and leaders to first focus on counting and to ensure that there is no problem there.

“We will celebrate in style once we romp home safe and with good lead,” said a senior party leader.

The Uttar Pradesh assembly has 403 seats and the ruling Samajwadi Party had 224 in the outgoing house. The BSP had 80, the BJP 48, and the Congress 28 members.

(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at [email protected])

–IANS

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