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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Uttar Pradesh votes 54% in 14 seats till 5pm

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, April 30, 2014
First Published: 07:52 IST(30/4/2014) | Last Updated: 18:21 IST(30/4/2014)

Uttar Pradesh recorded 54% in 14 Lok Sabha constituencies till 5pm on Wednesday. Polling began in central Uttar Pradesh and Bundlekhand at 7am.

UP governor BL Joshi, BSP supremo Mayawati, Congress candidate from Lucknow Rita Bahuguna Joshi and BJP leader Kalraj Mishra were among those who exercised their franchise.

Mayawati appealed everyone to vote. She further said, "I do not see any wave as projected by the BJP. This wave is only seen in the media".

Dhaurahra witnessed 62.8% polling till 5pm while Sitapur and Mishrikh recorded 59.4% and 53.96% polling respectively.

Unnao recorded 50.94% polling, Mohanlalganj 56%, Lucknow 50.5%, Rae Bareli 48.1%, Kanpur 50.2%, Jalaun 52%, Jhansi 63%, Hamirpur 49.1%, Banda 47.52%, Fatehpur and Akbarpur had 54.58% and 58.19% respectively.

Even before the polling started officially at 25,485 polling stations, people had queued up outside to exercise their franchise.

With the presidents of two national parties Sonia Gandhi (Congress) and Rajnath Singh (Bharatiya Janata Party), contesting from Rae Bareli and Lucknow respectively, the stakes are high in the fourth phase of polling.

While Sonia Gandhi is seeking re-election for the third time from her traditional constituency, Rajnath Singh has laid his claims on the legacy of BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee from Lucknow.

Although in the absence of any strong opposition in Rae Bareli, it appears to be a cakewalk for Sonia Gandhi, the situation is tricky for Rajnath Singh in Lucknow, as he is facing a contest from Rita Bahuguna Joshi (Congress) and Abhishek Mishra (Samajwadi Party) who are trying to pull the rug from under his feet.

Rajnath, who is facing a four-cornered fight, has two tasks at hand - first to maintain the legacy of former prime minister Vajpayee, and second to ensure a victory margin matching with his political stature.

Ever since the Ram temple movement, the BJP has never lost the Lucknow seat. The people of the city had elected Vajpayee for five-times on the trot between 1991 and 2004.

Rajnath, a sitting MP from Ghaziabad, is facing challenge from former UP Congress state president and sitting MLA Joshi.

Joshi contested the 2009 Lok Sabha election, but lost to Lalji Tandon of the BJP by a margin of 37,000 votes.

Minister of state in Akhilesh government, Abhishek Mishra, and minister in previous BSP government, Nakul Dubey, are also in fray.

Mohanlalganj, which is adjacent to Lucknow, is witnessing a triangular fight between two former ministers - Kaushal Kishore and RK Chaudhary - and sitting SP MP Sushila Saroj.

While Kaushal Kishore is contesting on a BJP ticket, Chaudhary has been fielded by the BSP.

In Kanpur, Union coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal is facing stiff competition from former BJP national president Murli Manohar Joshi, who has shifted from Varanasi after Narendra Modi decided to contest from the holy city.

The political atmosphere in Bundelkhand has heated up with the entry of former Madhya pradesh chief minister and sitting BJP MLA from Charkhari, Uma Bharti.

Bharti is pitted against Union minister of state for rural development Pradeep Jain Aditya, who would be trying to retain his seat.

Bharti, who is banking largely on a Modi wave, is promising to create a separate Bundelkhand state within three years of being voted to power.

In Barabanki, chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Castes PL Punia is banking on the development work done by him in the area.

Union minister of state for human resource, Jitin Prasada, is fighting against from former MP Dawood Ahmad of BSP in Dhaurahra seat.

Other stakeholders in the fray are Annu Tandon (Congress), and Pradeep Jain Aditya (Congress).

The constituencies going to the polls are Dhaurahra, Sitapur, Mishrikh, Unnao, Mohanlalganj, Lucknow, Rae Bareli, Kanpur, Jalaun, Jhansi, Hamirpur, Banda, Fatehpur and Barabanki.

In 2009, the Congress was major gainer with six seats followed by SP (four), BSP (three) and BJP (one).

In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the polling percentage in these constituencies was 47.99, which had gone up to 61.59 in 2012 assembly elections.

The chief electoral officer Umesh Sinha said that 2.46 crore voters are scheduled to exercise their franchise to lock the fate of 233 contestants in the fray.

Apart from 224 companies of central para-military forces, 60,000 police men and 59,000 homeguards have been deployed to ensure free and fair election in this round of polling in central UP and Bundelkhand.

Sinha said of the total 25,485 polling stations there are 3,554 critical centres where special vigil is being kept during the polling.

He added 14 general and 14 expenditure observers, four police observers, 1957 sector magistrates, 288 zonal magistrates and 255 static magistrates have been also been deployed.

(With inputs from PTI)

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