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India's largest state, Uttar Pradesh is heading up for Assembly Elections during February - March 2012. The Election Commission of India has announced a 7 phase polls in UP starting from 4th February to 28th February 2012. The political situation in UP is gradually heating up with all the political parties sharpening their strategies to capture the power. The BSP has announced list of 403 candidates and going alone for the decisive elections. The main political parties in the state, BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party), SP (Samajwadi Party), BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), Congress and RLD (Rashtriya Lok Dal) are gearing up withe all the resources to garner as many seats as possible. Uttar APradesh has 403 Assembly seats. The BSP has won the last elections held in 2007 with a thumping majority of 206 seats and captured the power on its own. There have been so may changes in the political landscape of Uttar Pradesh since then. The Mayavathi Government has been accused of so many land scams, corruption and deteriorating security for women. The Rahul Gandhi factor, which failed to create impact in the 2007 Assembly elections is being put for test again in the coming elections. Apart from UP, other states like Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa are also going for Assembly elections in 2012. Following is the UP Assembly Elections Schedule 2012.

1) Issue of Notification: January 2012
2) Last date for filing nominations: January 2012
3) Scrutiny of nominations: January 2012
4) Last date for withdrawal of nominations / candidature: January 2012
5) Date of polls: 4th February 2012 - 28th February 2012

4th February 2012 : 60 seats
8th February 2012 : 55 seats
11th February 2012 : 59 seats
15th February 2012 : 56 seats
19th February 2012 : 56 seats
23rd February 2012 : 49 seats
28th February 2012 : 68 seats

6) Counting of votes / Results: 4th March 2012
7) Date before which election process shall be completed: 9th March 2012.

In the 2007 Assembly elections, important national parties such as the Congress and BJP had bit the dust. The Congress went for the elections with lot of hopes on Rahul Gandhi's impact, which finally proved in fatal results. The BJP has been struggling to create any positive impact on the electorate and failing to come back to power. Following is the strength of various parties after 2007 Assembly elections.

Parties and their strength in UP Assembly after 2007 Elections:

1) BSP: 206 seats
2) Samajwadi Party: 97
3) BJP: 51
4) Congress Party: 22
5) RLD: 10
6) Rashtriya Parivartan Dal: 2
7) Akhil Bhartiya Loktantrik Congress (ABLC): 1
8. JD(U): 1
9) UP United Democratic Front (UPUDF): 1
10) Bharatiya Jan Shakti: 1
11) Jan Morcha: 1
12) Rashtriya Swabhimaan Party: 1
13) Independent: 9

The BJP has already declared that it will be going alone in the ensuing Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. There will not be any alliance with any party except minimal seat sharing arrangement with JD (U). The 2012 Assembly polls of Uttar Pradesh are going to be a turning point for both ruling UPA and NDA at the central level and may create impact on 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress is most likely to join hands with SP of Mulayam Singh Yadav as both are moving close after the voting on Nuclear Bill in Lok Sabha. We have to wait and watch for some more time to get clear picture of alliances and coalitions, as there is nothing impossible in politics.

The Election Commission of India is yet to release the Schedule for 2012 Assembly Polls. During 2007 Assembly elections, the Election Commission of India has conducted the polls in seven phases as follows:

1) Phase 1: 07-04-2007
2) Phase 2: 13-04-2007
3) Phase 3: 18-04-2007
4) Phase 4: 23-04-2007
5) Phase 5: 28-04-2007
6) Phase 6: 03-05-2007
7) Phase 7: 08-05-2007

It is most likely that the EC may go with the same number of phases and procedures for 2012 elections as well. Punjab is another crucial state going for Assembly elections in the early months of 2012.

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