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VIDEO: 60 per cent polling in 1st phase of UP election

Last updated on: February 8, 2012 19:22 IST

VIDEO: 60 per cent polling in 1st phase of UP election

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Polling for the first phase of high-voltage Uttar Pradesh assembly elections on Wednesday recorded 60 per cent turnout on an incident-free day after a sluggish start due to rain, with Mayawati's ruling Bahujan Samaj Party facing a tough challenge from Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and Samajwadi Party.

 

After an initial lull, polling picked up quickly after midday as the weather cleared with over 60 per cent of the 1.7 crore-strong electorate, which included 70 lakh women, exercising its franchise, state election officials said.

 

For Rediff Realtime News on UP polls click here

 

Polling was held in 55 constituencies spread over 10 districts -- Sitapur, Barabanki, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Bahraich, Shravasti, Balrampur, Gonda, Siddharth Nagar and Basti amidst tight security arrangements. The candidates include 796 men, 65 women and one eunuch.

The first phase of elections for the 403-member assembly will seal the fate of two ministers, 31 MLAs and 15 former ministers.

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Long queues of voters were seen at polling booths in several areas in late afternoon. "The biggest problem was that of rain in the initial hours, but later the response from the electorate was good," Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha said.

Amidst complaints of EVM malfunctioning, a lower turnout was registered in Bahraich district, while in Sitapur, where people boycotted polling in Gularia village in Misrikh assembly seat to protest lack of development, officials said.

In Gonda, nearly 800 voters boycotted poll process at booth number 34 in Mehnaun assembly seat to protest shifting of the polling station three kilometres away from the village.

Polling also picked up in Faizabad in late afternoon where over 55 per cent electorate cast their ballot as compared to 30 per cent in the first four hours.

In Ayodhya, voting crossed the 50 per cent mark till 3 pm. Balrampur and Siddharth Nagar district witnessed a lower than average voting.

Heavy rain played a spoilsport in Basni assembly seat in Siddharth Nagar with not a single vote being cast in the first two hours, officials said. 

Stakes are high for ruling BSP, Congress, SP and the BJP in the no-holds-barred fight. Today's polling would decide the future of cabinet minister Lalji Verma, minister of state Sangram Singh Verma, besides relatives of several MPs.

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Image: Polling officers wait for the voters at a polling station in Ayodhya during the state assembly election
Photographs: Reuters

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It would be a litmus test for Congress leaders, including Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma and National Commission for Scheduled Caste Chairman P L Punia as both of them represent the areas where voting took place.

While Gonda MP Verma's prestige would be at stake not only in seven assembly constituencies of his parliamentary area but also in Barabanki with his son Rakesh Verma contesting from Dariyabad seat there.

Barabanki MP Punia's Dalit card and influence in the area would also be under keen observation in six seats of his area.

Both Verma, known for his say in Kurmi vote bank and Punia, Dalit face of Congress would have the herculean task of ensuring maximum number of seats for the Congress, which had secured only three of the 55 seats in 2007 assembly polls.

BSP has a strength of 220 seats in the outgoing House followed by SP with 89, BJP 48, Congress 20, RLD 10 and nine independents among others.

The remaining phases of polling will be held on February 11, 15, 19, 23, 28 and March 3. Counting of votes will take place on March 6.

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Image: A priest casts his vote as a polling officer watches at a polling station in Ayodhya
Photographs: Reuters

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Photographs: Reuters
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