Around 64% voters turned up to exercise their franchise on Saturday in first of the staggered seven-phase assembly elections in India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh. Polling took place in 73 of the state’s 403 assembly constituencies, spread across 15 districts in the western part of the state. A total of 839 candidates were in the fray. In this phase, around 2.59 crore voters were eligible to exercise their franchise.
In the 2012 assembly polls, of the 73 seats -- SP had won 24, BSP 23, BJP 12, Rashtriya Lok Dal 9 and the Congress 5 seats. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had won all the 12 seats in the region. The region was earlier a stronghold of Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and whether she gets the CM’s chair or not will depend on how the BSP does in these 73 seats.
Live updates here:
7:40pm: (Updated polling figures) 64.22% of the voters exercise their franchise in the first phase of the UP elections. In 2012, the 15 districts that went to polls on Saturday registered a voter turnout of 59.62%.
|Gautam Buddh Nagar||59.17|
* EC might revise the figures
7.02pm: A total 13 cases of paid news were identified, out of which 10 has been confirmed in first phase of UP elections: Election Commission
6.55pm: As many as 2,96,906 troublemakers were identified and preventive actions were taken against them. Rs 19.56 crore in cash, 4,44,000 litre of liquor worth Rs 14 crore and drugs worth Rs 96.93 lakh, Rs 14 crores worth of gold and silver seized during first phase: Election Commission
6.40pm: Election Commission addresses the media, says 63% tentative voter turnout in first phase of UP polls.
A total of 3,888 digital and video cameras were used, webcasting was done at 2,857 places during the phase I of the UP elections.
6:00pm: Provisional polling figures till 5pm --- Noida: 51%, Dadri: 61%, Jewar: 66%
5:56pm: Ghaziabad district registers 57.41% polling till 5pm (provisional figures).
3:45pm: 52.90% voting recorded till 3pm in first phase of elections.
2:30pm: About 45% votes were cast till 2pm in 73 assembly constituencies. PTI reports that RLD workers obstructed Dalit voters from exercising their franchise in Looyan village under Badaut area leading to clash. FIRs were filed against three RLD workers.
1:30pm: Overall voting percentage in elections 1st phase until 1pm is 39.43%. Shamli district records highest turnout with 41.83%.
1:15pm: “What is the reason why development could not reach this district under the governance of SP and BSP,” asks Prime Minister Modi, as he begins his address in Badaun. “Badaun is among 100 backward districts of India.”
“Our government is dedicated to serve the poor, the marginalised and farmers. We are initiating several steps to uplift them,” says Modi. “When I took strong steps against corruption, all parties came together against Modi. SP, BSP united and spoke in one voice against us. Why is the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh sheltering criminals?”
12.48pm: Election Commission asks police to lodge complaint against Noida candidates of Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party for campaigning on polling day. BSP’S Ravikant Mishra and SP candidate Sunil Chaudhary sent bulk messages appealing for votes. Mishra even went live on Facebook to seek votes.
11:45am: Overall polling percentage in the state at 24.50, as of 11 am. Shamli constituency highest at 29%.
11:40am: BSP leader Mayawati speaks to ANI: “Only BSP can provide an ideal government in UP. Congress - Samajwadi Party and BJP are trying to misguide people, but now people know. There is a big BSP wave across the state and the reports I am getting from the first phase of voting are very positive
11:15am: Members of a dominant cast prevented Dalits from casting their votes in Lion Malakpur village of Baraut constituency. Polling affected for over an hour and resumed after intervention of security forces. Village has more than 600 Dalit votes.
IANS reports that the Election Commission is extensively using information technology to ensure free and fair polling. The ‘third eye’ of the poll panel was keeping a close tab on every movement at 14,514 polling centres through 2,362 digital cameras, 1,526 video cameras and 2,857 web cameras, an official said.
11:00am: SK Jain, traders union president in Noida, tells HT that there were many complaints of missing names from voting lists at Army Public School, Noida Sector 37. “These people were regular voters and had their voter cards in possession. When I checked the list I found there were more than 200 flat residents missing from the list including my family.”
10:55am: Akhilesh Yadav says he’s happy with initial voting trend in first phase of polling. “First votes went to Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance, so it will be ahead,” he says. “No need for emotions and anger...these are elections for growth and prosperity of the state,” he says on Modi’s addresses.
“PM, BJP should not mislead people, come forward and tell what they have given to state which has elected all prominent NDA leaders.”
10:40am: “In the past two and a half years, Modi has failed. Demonetisation, surgical strikes are avoidance tactics. When he can’t answer questions, then he starts distracting. Samajwadi Party - Congress is an alliance between two youngsters, ideas. We will make sure, five years from today, Uttar Pradesh is fundamentally transformed,” says Rahul Gandhi.
“There are issues on 6-7 seats, but these issues are insignificant, things will be worked out soon”: Rahul Gandhi on alliance with Samajwadi Party. “The Prime Minister is fond of Google searching, peeping into others’ bathrooms. Let him do that in his free time but his main job is that of a Prime Minister in which he has been a cent per cent failure,” Gandhi said.
10:30am: Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi hold a press conference in Lucknow, release alliance’s common minimum program.
“We want a government with a vision and one that works for the youth in the Uttar Pradesh. We want a government for all in UP. We will focus on employment and farmers,” says Rahul Gandhi. PM Narendra Modi promised employment to 2 crore people every year, says Gandhi. “Not even 1% accomplished.”
10:00am: Seven Electronic Voting Machines malfunctioned in different constituencies of the district, affecting polling. Officials are trying to replace them.ANI reports that the overall voting percentage in all constituencies under phase 1 is 10.56%.
9:30am: Gagan Som, BJP’s Sangeet Som’s brother, held by police because he was carrying a pistol to the polling booth of Faridpur village in Sardhana constituency. Case is being registered.
9:20am: Altercation between SP candidate Shokindra Tomar and RLD leaders reported at booth no 183 of Veer Smarak Inter College in Baraut constituency. The police had to intervene and disperse the crowd.
9:10am: The average polling rate in Ghaziabad district is 13% till 9 am. In Firozabad and Agra, it’s 12% and Noida is at 7%. Muzaffarnagar recorded the highest voting in the first two hours at 15%.
8:50am: 45-year-old Munesh at sector 22 polling booth along with her husband Rajveer, 50, to cast their votes. Both are differently-abled and this time the couple has voted to see a change in their lives. They have never received pension disbursed by the government for the differently-abled.
8:45am: Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav’s joint press conference in Lucknow is scheduled at 9.15 am in Lucknow. They will release a common agenda.
8:30am: Candidate from Mathura and national secretary of BJP Srikant Sharma cast his vote in village of Mathura.
Home minister Rajnath Singh’s son and BJP candidate from Noida, Pankaj Singh visits the Government Degree College polling station in Noida. Contesting from Noida assembly constituency on a BJP ticket, he went to many polling stations and checked the process. Many people complained to him that their name is not in the electorate list.
“I am visiting polling stations to see that people are not facing any difficulty,” Pankaj Singh told HT.
8:20am: Ghaziabad district magistrate Nidhi Kesarwani and SSP Deepak Kumar cast their vote at Ghaziabad’s Ingraham College.
24-year-old Shrey Kumar was up at 6 am to caste vote at polling station in sector 39. This was his first vote for state assembly elections and he tells HT that he is irked by the snail-pace of development in Noida.
8:10am: Faulty EVM delays voting in Noida’s Navada village. There are 1,500 voters that fall under this booth.
8:00am: Samajwadi Party candidate Sunil Chaudhary and family cast their vote at sector 19 polling booth. He is contesting against Rajnath Singh’s son Pankaj (BJP) and Ravikant Mishra of the BSP.
7:40am: In Agra, Shubam Choubey was first voter at booth no. 99. Voters began queuing up at polling booth early on Saturday morning. Polling has begun as some constituencies, slightly delayed at others in Agra’s nine seats.
7:30am: Polling delayed in booth no.42 in Mathura’s Govardhan, and in booths 119 and 120 in Baghpat as the Electronic Voting Machines are not working, reports ANI.
7:10am: Voters cast their ballot in Bisada, Noida sector 15 and other constituencies as the first phase begins:
7:00am: Voting begins in the 73 assembly seats in phase one of elections in Uttar Pradesh.
(S Raju is reporting from Meerut, Hemendra Chaturvedi from Agra, Rajesh Kumar Singh and Pankaj Jaiswal from Lucknow, Anupam Thapa, Vaibhav Jha and Sohil Sehran from Noida and Greater Noida.)
(With agency inputs)