Around 48.76 per cent voting was recorded in the second phase of the Uttar Pradesh civic polls today amid reports of stray cases of EVM malfunctioning and disputes over the names of voters missing from the list.
In 2012, the voting percentage in districts that voted today was 43.67 per cent.
The state election commission claimed that the combined polling percentage of the first and the second phase of the 2017 UP urban local body polls stands at 50.52, much more than the 46.6 per cent recorded in 2012.
The polling percentage in the state capital was 37.57 percent. In 2012, it was 35.6. Allahabad too witnessed a surge in polling by three per cent and it hovered around 34.20.
Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi witnessed almost 10 per cent increase in polling percentage this time, with 44.39 being the recorded figure. In 2012, the polling percentage in Varanasi was 35.4.
The mayoral elections in Allahabad saw 30.47 per cent voters casting their votes, while in Lucknow it was 36 per cent. Varanasi witnessed a voters' turnout of 43.8 per cent for the mayoral elections.
Earlier in the day, State Election Commissioner S K Agarwal told reporters at the close of the polling hours, "51 -52 per cent polling this time in the 25 districts, which went to the polls today, shows a jump over the previous turnout of 43.67." The polling passed off peacefully, he added.
The total number of voters in the second phase was 1.3 crore voters.
District-wise, the highest polling percentage was reported from Sant Kabir Nagar (67.59 per cent), followed by Shrawasti and Lalitpur. The other districts where polling crossed the 60 per cent mark were Sant Ravidas Nagar, Ambedkarnagar, Pilibhit, Banda, Muzaffarnagar, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Amroha and Ballia.
The bottom three districts in terms of polling percentage were Varanasi (44.39 per cent), Lucknow (37.57 per cent) and Allahabad (34.20 per cent). Apart from these, voting percentage in Ghaziabad and Mathura was also below the 50 per cent mark.
Braving early morning chill, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma cast their votes in Lucknow, where drones kept a hawk-eyed vigil on the marathon exercise.
Rajnath Singh cast his vote along with his wife and family members, including son Pankaj Singh who is a legislator.
Sharma, who voted with his wife in the Aishbagh area expressed confidence that the BJP would sweep the polls. Agarwal also exercised his franchise and appealed to the people to cast their votes. If you want amenities in your city, you should come out and vote in large numbers, he said.
The other Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister, Keshav Prasad Maurya, voted in Allahabad.
The polling for the first phase on November 22 had seen a 52.59-per cent voter turnout.
The voters of Lucknow today cast ballots to elect their first woman mayor in 100 years as the Lucknow mayoral seat was reserved for women.
The prominent contestants in a field of 19 were Sayukta Bhatia (BJP), Prema Awasthi (Congress), Bulbul Godiyal (BSP), Priyanka Maheshwari (AAP) and Meera Vardhan (SP).
At certain places, there were complaints regarding malfunctioning of the electronic voting machines (EVMs), but the machines were replaced quickly and the polling continued without any disruption, Agarwal said.
There were also complaints of names missing from the voters' lists at a few places.
SP chief Akhilesh Yadav tweeted that as per media reports, names of a lot of voters were missing. This type of digital India cannot take us forward, the former chief minister said taking a dig.
The last and final phase of polling will be held on November 29 and the counting of votes will be taken up on December 1.
According to the state election commission, the polling percentage in the second phase was: Sant Kabir Nagar (67.59 per cent), Shrawasti (65.80 per cent), Lalitpur (64.97 per cent), Sant Ravidas Nagar (64.23 per cent), Ambedkarnagar (64.05 per cent), Pilibhit (63.8 per cent), Banda (63.64 per cent), Muzaffarnagar (63.17 per cent), Gautam Buddh Nagar (61.65 per cent), Amroha (61.65 per cent), Ballia (60.05 per cent), Shahjahanpur (59.03 per cent), Bahraich (58.76 per cent), Mainpuri (58.68 per cent), Farrukhabad (58.53 per cent), Deoria (57.29), Rampur (54.87 per cent), Sultanpur (54.80 per cent), Etawah (53.85 per cent), Aligarh (51.41 per cent), Ghaziabad (46.90 per cent), Mathura (46.88 per cent), Varanasi (44.39 per cent), Lucknow (37.57 per cent) and Allahabad (34.20 per cent).
The ongoing urban local body election, involving over 3.3 crore voters in the 75 districts of the state, is being seen as a test for the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government.
State BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey claimed the BJP was going to bag three-fourths of all the seats.
The stakes are as high for other parties, including the Congress, SP and BSP, which are hoping to make a comeback after their drubbing in the Assembly polls earlier this year.
The BSP is contesting the local body polls on the party symbol after 17 years.