Fifty-five Uttar Pradesh Assembly constituencies will go to polls in the second phase on February 14.
Elections in Uttar Pradesh are being conducted in seven phases moving from west
to east. The first phase of polls, in 58 constituencies, saw an average voter
turnout of 62.08%.

The second phase
of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections are spread across nine districts:
Moradabad, Rampur, Bareilly, Badaun, Saharanpur, Bijnor, Amrola, Sambhal and

Also Read | Battle for west UP: Why the first phase polls are significant

In the 2017
Assembly elections, 38 out of the 55 seats going to polls in the second phase
went to the BJP (69.09%). The Samajwadi Party (SP) won 15 (27.27%). The
Congress won two seats.

The second phase
of polls is expected to see a closer contest than the first. In the
constituencies that went to polls in the first phase, 53 out of the 58 were
with the BJP in the 2017 Assembly polls.

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Among the critical
factors expected to impact the first two phases of polls, that are primarily
based in western Uttar Pradesh, are the farm law protests. The three agriculture
laws brought in by the Centre in 2020 saw immense resistance from farmers in
the area. The laws, which sought to give the private sector a greater role in India’s
agri-economy, were eventually revoked.

Also Read | Baghpat: Which way farmers sway to determine fate of “Land of the Tiger”

Prime Minister
Narendra Modi, on Thursday, addressed a public rally in Saharanpur, one of the
constituencies going to polls in the second phase. In his address, the prime
minister referred to the bloody riots in Saharanpur and Muzaffarnagar in 2013 that
had a profound impact on the region.

Also Read | Muzaffarnagar: Riot ghosts, farm protests may sway polls in western UP’s key Assembly

Slamming the
Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP), Modi said, “Don’t think for a moment
that these dangawadis have reformed. They are just waiting for a chance.
The rioters of Saharanpur were welcomed by these mafia-like people.”

“Across western UP
they are backing rioters. These people want to take revenge against the people
of UP. Those who were cursing rioters earlier are now standing with the same
rioters,” the prime minister said.

Also Read | Will 2022 Assembly polls finally end the ‘Noida jinx’?

While communal polarisation
and law-and-order remain the chief talking points in Uttar Pradesh polls, a
report by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) has found that one in four
candidates contesting the second phase polls have criminal cases against them.

The Uttar Pradesh
Assembly is India’s biggest and the results of UP polls often signal the larger
trends in national politics. Uttar Pradesh is going to polls in seven phases.
Results will be declared on March 10.