Fifteen seats in Uttar Pradesh saw 55.56% voter turnout on Wednesday in the crucial fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections in the state. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi faces voter's test in Amethi parliamentary constituency in this round.
Amethi registered a polling percentage of 55.20
amid high drama.
The voter turnout in the VIP seat where Rahul is facing a challenge from BJP's Smriti Irani and AAP's Kumar Vishwas was 10% higher than the 2009 figure of 45.16%.
The polling day in this constituency in eastern Uttar Pradesh was marked by a heated argument between Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's secretary Preeti Sahay and Irani, an actor-turned-politician, at a polling booth.
Sahay was asked to leave the constituency after the BJP filed a complaint with the Election Commission, alleging that she was trying to influence voters.
Meanwhile, Rahul encountered a sketch of Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) poll symbol lotus at a booth in Phoola village.
At another polling station, some BJP workers raised the "har har Modi" slogan when Rahul left the venue.
Rahul is seeking third term from this traditional Congress stronghold.
Congress president and his mother Sonia Gandhi as well as his father late Rajiv Gandhi had represented Amethi in Parliament in the past.
The Amethi poll battle is one of the most closely watched contests in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. BJP's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi has broken the unwritten code of staying away from a heavyweight rival's turf and campaigned in Amethi.
Rahul's sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, too, has hogged the limelight during her campaigns in the prestigious constituency.
AAP's Kumar Vishwas raised allegations of booth capturing by "anti-social elements". He later demanded re-polling in at least 50 polling stations in the Amethi parliamentary constituency.
This phase is also extremely important for the BJP, which could not win even a single seat in this region in the 2009 general elections.
While the BJP has been making determined efforts to make a dent into rival's camp, the Congress, with seven sitting MPs, has been desperately trying to retain the fort.
Similarly, for the Bahujan Samaj Party (five MPs) and Samajwadi Party (three), the phase is vital to further increase the tally.
The seats where polling was held are Amethi, Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Kaushambi, Phulpur, Allahabad, Faizabad, Ambedkarnagar, Bahraich, Kaisarganj, Shrawasti, Gonda, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar and Bhadoi.
Another seat being watched with interest is Sultanpur where BJP's Varun Gandhi has been trying to regain the legacy of his late father Sanjay Gandhi. He moved from Pilibhit to this seat.
Other prominent stakeholders are former Indian cricket player Mohd Kaif (Congress-Phulpur), Dr Nirmal Khatri (Congress-Faizabad), Union minister Beni Prasad Verma (Congress-Gonda), Mafia-turned politicians Atiq Ahmad (SP-Shravasti), Reoti Raman Singh (SP-Allahabad), Ratna Singh (Congress-Pratapgarh)
In view of polling in sensitive areas and allegations of rigging during the previous phases, the Election Commission deployed more companies of central para-military forces (CPMF).
Around 60,000 policemen and 59,000 home guards were deployed for the poll.
Largest numbers of electorates 17.38 lakh are in Faizabad and smallest numbers 16.38 lakh are in Bahraich.
Sinha said in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections the polling percentage in these constituencies was 43.37% which had gone up to 57.33% in 2012 assembly poll.
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