Peace was the watchword for the third phase of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, which saw a turnout of 57.25%.
The figure was a huge improvement over 2007 poll’s 42.56%, especially in view of the fact that some of the districts were Naxal hit.
In 2002, the turnout was 52.9% and the 2009 Lok Sabha elections saw 44.85% polling.
The election was peaceful despite several dons-turned politicians being in the fray — Atiq Ahmad (Allahabad), Brajesh Singh (Mirzapur), Vijay Mishra (Bhadohi) and Munna Bajrangi (Jaunpur). Singh, Mishra and Bajrangi were contesting from jail.
Expressing satisfaction over trouble-free polling in Naxal-hit Chandauli, Mirzapur and Sonbhadra, chief electoral officer Umesh Sinha told journalists the percentage was particularly good since the region has been traditionally known as a “low-turnout area”.
Two Naxal hit districts performed particularly better than others — Chandauli with a turnout of 62.5%, Mirzapur with 62.4%. Sinha had a word of praise for the district magistrates for motivating the electorate. He said the turnout was good in the first half of the day, with large queues witnessed since morning.
Others prominent contestants among the 1,018 candidates in the fray were former Speaker Kesri Nath Tripathi (BJP) from Allahabad South; former BSP minister Rakesh Dhar Tripathi (PMSP) from Handia, Allahabad; minister Inderjit Saroj (BSP) from Manjhanpur, Kaushambi; minister Nand Gopal Nandi (BSP) from Allahabad South; former minister Ujjawal Raman Singh (SP) from Karchana, Allahabad; former cricketer Jyoti Yadav (SP) from Allahabad West; Amita Singh (Congress) from Amethi; former principal secretary Vidhan Sabha, Rajendra Prasad Pandey (SP) from Majhawan, Mirzapur.
The Nehru-Gandhi bastions — Chattrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar (Amethi) and Sultanpur were among the ten districts where polling was held.