Lucknow, Feb 28: Over 60 per cent voters today exercised their franchise in the sixth and penultimate phase of Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections for 68 seats spread over 13 districts of the western Jat belt of the state, where the Congress-RLD combine faces a litmus test.
While voting was by and large peaceful, election officials in Delhi and Lucknow said “barring minor incidents, polling process was peacefully over at 5 PM.”
“A total of 60.1 per cent voters out of an electorate of 2.15 crore cast their vote in the sixth phase of polling till 5 PM,” UP Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha said in Lucknow.
In Delhi, an election official said, “The turnout shows an increase of around 29 per cent as compared to the previous assembly polls in 2007.”
The last assembly polls in these districts had recorded a turnout of 46.58 per cent.
In the sixth phase of polling, Saharanpur district recorded a maximum turnout of 64.7 per cent followed by Mathura district which recorded a polling percentage of 63.3 per cent, Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi said.
The fate of 1,103 candidates, including 86 women, will be decided in today’s polls.
Voters in village Hussain Malikpur under Behat assembly constituency in Saharanpur district boycotted the poll and no vote was polled at polling booth number 106, Zutshi said, adding that the villagers were protesting against inadequate drainage of water in the area.
Zutshi said there was one case of possible repoll due to irregularities in the use of electronic voting machines in Ghaziabad. This was in Polling Station 67 at SR Public School in Ghaziabad where poll officials included the mock poll votes in the total votes polled. “This calls for a possible repoll after scrutiny,” he said.
Police used mild force to disperse a local BSP leader and his supporters who created a ruckus at a polling centre at Singhani gate area in Ghaziabad on the outskirts of Delhi. They were protesting against the absence of booth level officers to distribute voter slips.
Similarly, in Agra, people were agitated over alleged irregularities at a centre at Ahmadia Hameedia college in Mantola.
In Bhatta Parsaul, which was the centre of the land acquisition row, farmers were seen in large numbers coming out to vote. Their leader Manvir Singh Tevatia, who had spearheaded the farmers’ agitation, is fighting elections from jail. The area falls under the Jewar Assembly seat.
Congress has fielded Dhirendra Singh from Jewar. He was the man on whose bike Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi had reached Bhatta Parsaul last year.
In Chief Minister Mayawati’s native Badalpur village, farmers had lined up to cast their vote even before the polling began. BSP fielded Satvir Gujjar, the sitting MLA, wwho is piited against Samir Bhatti of Congress.
Bhatti had once served as MLA from Dadri and his father Mahinder Singh Bhatti represented the seat twice. BJP has fielded Nawab Singh Nagar, who was twice elected MLA from the seat. Samajwadi Party has fielded Raj Kumar Bhatti.
The 6th phase would also decide the fate of youth face of RLD Jayant Chaudhary, as well as Energy Minister Ramveer Upadhyaya, deputy leader of BJP Legislative Party Hukkum Singh and former minister Rajveer Singh, who is also son of former Chief Minister Kalyan Singh.
To ensure active role of junior Chaudhary in state politics Ajit Singh has fielded Jayant, who is MP from Mathura, from Math seat in Mathura.
RLD state president and bureaucrat-turned-politician Baba Hardeo Singh is also in the fray from Aitmadpur seat in Agra district.
A former officer of Provincial Civil Services, Baba Hardeo was the president of PCS Association for the longest time.
Energy Minister Ramveer is also seeking rerun from Chattriya dominated Sikandrarau seat in Hathras district.
Ramveer’s prominence would also be put to test in Sadabad and Dibai seats from where his brother-in-law Satyendra Sharma and brother Vinod Updhayaya are contesting respectively.
Ramveer’s brother Vinod is pitched against Rajveer Singh, a former minister and son of ex-CM Kalyan Singh.
Popularity of Rashid Masood, who left SP and joined Congress as a Muslim leader would also be put to test in this phase as his nephew Imran Masood is in fray from Nakud seat in Saharanpur district.
This phase would also decide the impact of an appeal made by Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid Maulana Ahmad Bukahri in favour of SP as his son-in-law Umar Ali is in the fray for Behat seat in Saharanpur district.
“Taking into account six phases of polling in UP, an average of 58.47 per cent voter turnout has been registered, which is the highest in the electoral history of the state,” Sinha said in Lucknow.