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Elaborate security for final phase of UP polls
May 07, 2007 13:18 IST
Elaborate security arrangements have been made for Tuesday's crucial seventh and last phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections to 59 constituencies spread over nine districts. The final and the last phase of assembly polls will have the dubious distinction of having 162 candidates with criminal antecedents. The ruling Samajwadi Party with 32, leads the list of such candidates out of its total 55 in this phase, followed by the BJP-Apna Dal combine 19, BSP 20 and the Congress 16.
Inter-state borders with Bihar and Jharkhand, and international borders with Nepal were sealed on Sunday evening for security reasons.
Central paramilitary forces were conducting 'flag march' in all the sensitive districts, while security forces have started reaching polling booths. State Chief Electoral Officer Anuj Kumar Bishnoi said in Lucknow that all preparations for smooth conduct of polling had been completed.
Altogether 637 companies of Central forces along with 73 companies of PAC besides 10,000-strong state police will be deployed for free and fair polling.
Prominent candidates, whose fate will be decided in Phase-VII polling are former UP chief minister and Congress candidate Ram Naresh Yadav (Phulpur), state ministers and Samajwadi Party candidates Ambikar Choudhury (Copachit), Ram Govind Chouhdury (Bansdih), Narad Rai (Balia), Kameshwar Upadhaya, criminal-turned-politician Harishanker Tiwari (Chilupar), Amarmani Tripathi (Laxmipur), Mukhtar Ansari (Mau), Bahujan Samaj Party senior leader and candidate Lalji Verma (Tanda) and rebel SP lawmaker Beni Prasad Verma (Ayodhya).
Counting of votes will take place on May 11 and the new assembly is to be constituted before May 13 when the term of the present assembly expires.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission has deployed eight special observers in five districts, out of the total nine, where the last phase of assembly polls is scheduled on May 8.
Of the total eight special observers, three will be deployed in Deoria district alone. The EC has also identified five sensitive constituencies where one special observer will be deployed.
Deputy Election Commissioner J P Prakash will monitor the polling process on Tuesday using a helicopter.
Altogether 1.78 crore voters, including 96.3 lakh males, 81.8 lakh females, are eligible to vote in this phase in over 16,000 polling booths. A total of 19,400 Electronic Voting Machines will be used in the polling.
The fate of 934 candidates is at stake in this phase, with 262 of the national and state parties, 338 of the registered parties and rest are independents. There are also 49 women in the fray.
The Deoria assembly constituency has the maximum 32 contestants, while Kaswa seat has the minimum nine candidates.
The EC has identified 20 assembly constituencies as sensitive and has chalked out an intensive plan whereby the electorate in all these constituencies would be provided adequate security cover to enable free and fair polls.
Pawan Pandey of Apna Dal, contesting from Akbarpur seat, has 63 cases pending against him -- highest among the candidates having criminal background contesting in the entire UP assembly polls.
Altogether 51 candidates in phase-VII have declared their assets of more than Rs one crore and of them, seven even do not have PAN cards. As many as 734 candidates have no PAN card in the last phase.
Though campaigning was a low-key affair, all the political parties have thrown in their weight to woo the voters on caste and communal lines.
Bharatiya Janata Party parliamentarian Yogi Adityanath's influence will be tested in the Gorakhpur region while SP general secretary Amar Singh's home district Azamgarh will also go to polls in this phase.
In the 2002 assembly polls, the ruling SP had won 21 seats out of the 59 at stake, followed by BSP-17, BJP-10, Congress-4, Independent-2 and others 5.