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Fifth phase UP poll records 59.4 per cent turnout

Last updated on: February 23, 2012 17:47 IST

Fifth phase UP poll records 59.4 per cent turnout

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow

The fifth round of Uttar Pradesh's seven-phased state assembly election polling on Thursday nearly touched a grand 60 per cent turnout, matching the first round poll that stood ahead of all other phases so far.

 

"Thursday's turnout was estimated at an impressive at 59.4. In fact it would have gone even higher if more voters had cared to step out of their homes in Kanpur where the polling remained as low as 52 per cent," state chief electoral officer Umesh Sinha told this scribe .

 

Interestingly, even as the polling remained low in the state's largest city of Kanpur, voters turned out in far larger numbers in smaller towns and rural areas.

 

"The highest polling was recorded in Lalitpur, the remotest UP district, surrounded by Madhya Pradesh from three sides," Sinha said.

 

As many as 829 candidates were in the fray for 49 seats spread across 13 districts where 1.56 crore electors were expected to cast their vote at 17,267 polling centres on Thursday.

 

Extremely heavy police deployments were made for this phase of polling, which covers a large part of central UP, better known as the state's badland.

 

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Image: Kalyan Singh and Uma Bharati


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Fifth phase UP poll records 59.4 per cent turnout

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While Sinha remained  tight-lipped on the numbers, sources confirmed that more than 800 companies of central para military and state armed police were place to ensure a smooth ,free and fair poll in the otherwise "crime and violence-prone" region.

"Every polling booth had at least two central para-military personnel, two state armed cops plus four homeguards," disclosed a top police official. He however declined to divulge how many Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Indo-Tibet Border Police or Central Industrial Security Force personnel were detailed for poll duties across 13 districts where polling was scheduled on Thursday.

Apart from Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's home Etawah, other districts to witness the poll today were Mainpuri, Firozabad, Etah, Auraiya, Rama Bai Nagar, Kanshi Ram Nagar, Kanpur , Jhansi, Hamirpur, Lalitpur ,Mahoba and Jalaun.

Sure enough, this belt was an acid test for Mulayam, who is believed to command a lot of influence over both Yadavs and other backward classes in this part of central UP.

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Image: A polling official collects electronic voting machines from a distribution centre
Photographs: Reuters

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Fifth phase UP poll records 59.4 per cent turnout

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Likewise, the prestige of Bharatiya Janata Party star campaigner Uma Bharti is also at stake because she was specially imported from neighbouring Madhya Pradesh in the hope of attracting the Lodhi backward caste community, which has a major presence in large parts of Bundelkhand districts that were going to poll.

While Bharti was herself in the fray from Charkhari in Hamirpur district, Mulayam's younger brother Shivpal Yadav was contesting from the family bastion, Jaswant Nagar in Etawah.

Bharti was trying to wean away from Kalyan Singh who was struggling to keep his own stock of Lodhis together under the banner of his Rashtriya Kranti Party.

He had even gone to the extent of throwing a challenge to Bharti by fielding a rival member of the caste against her from Charkheri that has turned into a VIP constituency ever since Bharti filed her nomination from there after she shifted base from her home state Madhya Pradesh to UP.


Image: Voters display their voter identity cards as they wait for their turn to cast their ballots at a polling station
Photographs: Reuters

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