Voting took place for bypolls to Lok Sabha seats of Phulpur and Gorakhpur, a stronghold of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, on Sunday.
Seen as a triangular contest after Mayawati-led BSP extended support to Samajwadi Party to take on the BJP, while the Congress joined the fray on its own, the results are yet to be known.
Tight security arrangements were made with deployment of nearly 6,500 personnel of central armed para-military forces, apart from Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and homeguards to ensure peaceful polling in Gorakhpur and Phulpur seats, vacated by Adityanath and deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya respectively following their election to Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council.
There are 10 candidates from Gorakhpur, while 22 candidates are contesting from Phulpur.
As it happened:
Watch video: UP bypoll: CM Yogi Adityanath casts his vote for Gorakhpur bypoll
06:00 pm: Gorakhpur records 43% polling, Phulpur 37.39%, say EC officials
4:37 pm: Gorakhpur records 40% polling, Phulpur 29% till 4 PM
3:00 pm: 26.6% voter turnout recorded in Phulpur till 3 PM
02:45 pm: Polling percentage till 1 pm Phulpur 19.2%, Gorakhpur 30.20%
01:17 pm: Election office sources said nearly 20 per cent of the electorate cast their ballots by mid-day and the exercise was going on peacefully.
11:45 am: 16.80 per cent voter turnout recorded in Gorakhpur, 12.20 per cent in Phulpur till 11 am
10:15 am: Voting starts at a slow pace. Only 6.80 per cent voter turn out till 9 am in Gorakhpur and 4.80 per cent in Phulpur
09:30 am: A pregnant lady reaches voting booth to cast vote hours before her delivery. "I want to cast my vote as a lesson to my child about the importance of this right," she told India TV.
09:20 am: After casting his vote, Maurya said that the results of today's polls on March 14 will send both Akhilesh and Mayawati to hospital. "First Akhliesh gave a ride to the hand (Congress) and now its giving a lift to the elephant (BSP), but his cycle (SP) is not going very far as it has been punctured."
09:20 am: UP deputy CM Kehsay Prasad Maurya, who vacated the Phulpur Lok Sabha seat for assembly position, casted his vote on Sunday morning.
8:19 am: BJP will win both the by-polls (Gorakhpur and Phulpur ) with massive majority and on the basis of PM Modi's governance of development, 2019 election results will also be good for the BJP: UP CM Yogi Adityanath
Gorakhpur: Visuals from a polling station as voting begins. pic.twitter.com/CsnvXiekvw— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) March 11, 2018
07:25 am: Gorakhpur: UP Chief Minister casts his vote for Gorakhpur By-Poll at a polling station, says 'BJP is necessary for development and good governance.'
Gorakhpur: Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at a polling station to cast his vote for Lok Sabha by-election. pic.twitter.com/5eFWfZMuEy— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) March 11, 2018
Gorakhpur: Polling for Lok Sabha by-election to begin shortly. pic.twitter.com/RT88Nk8nh8— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) March 11, 2018
06:45 am: The BJP has fielded Kaushalendra Singh Patel from Phulpur and Upendra Dutt Shukla from Gorakhpur against SP’s Pravin Nishad and Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel respectively. Sureetha Kareem is the Congress candidate from Gorakhpur. The party, which had joined hands with SP in the assembly polls held last year, has fielded Manish Mishra from Phulpur.
06:40 am: For the BJP, Gorakhpur is significant as it is the bastion of the chief minister, who has represented the seat in the Lok Sabha five times. Prior to Yogi Adityanath, the seat was thrice represented in Parliament by his mentor Yogi Avaidyanath.
06:30 am: Phulpur, once the bastion of the Congress and represented by India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, witnessed a saffron surge in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, when Maurya won the seat.
06:20 am: The outcome of the bye-election will be crucial, as a success for the SP-BSP experiment could pave the way for the two major players in Uttar Pradesh to tie up in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to counter the BJP, which had trounced them in the last general and assembly elections. Adityanath has termed the bye-elections a rehearsal for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
06:15 am: The office of the UP chief electoral officer in a statement issued here today said that voting will begin at 7.00 am and continue till 5.00 pm.
06:10 am: In Gorakhpur parliamentary constituency, there are 970 polling centres and 2,141 polling booths. Similarly, in Phulpur, there are 793 polling centres and 2,059 polling booths.
06:00 am: According to the Election Commission, there 19.61 lakh voters in Phulpur parliamentary constituency, while there are 19.49 lakh voters in Gorakhpur. In the bypolls, as many as 4,728 VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines will also be used. VVPAT machines are used during election process to verify that the vote polled by a voter has gone to the candidate. Steps have been taken for webcasting from 95 critical booths.
(With inputs from PTI)