The stage is set for the crucial last phase of polling in 59 assembly constituencies on Tuesday. In view of communal sensitivity and activities of criminal-turned-politicians the Election Commission has made tight security arrangements including posting of senior IAS and IPS officers to hold free and fair elections.
Talking to newsmen in Lucknow on Monday the chief electoral officer AK Bishnoi said that nearly 650 companies of central para-military forces had been posted along with 50 companies of PAC and civil police for a peaceful poll.
According to information Azamgarh has 112 companies of CPMF, Gorakhpur 94, Maharajganj 56, Deoria 81, Balia 75 and Mau 44. The DGP GL Sharma said striking reserved force had been increased and strengthened in the region.
Bishnoi said apart from general observers additional observers have also been posted in all nine districts going to the polls. He said nearly 1.78 crore voters would vote for 934 candidates including 49 women. He said the largest numbers of 3.64 lakh voters were in Maniram (Gorakhpur) and the lowest 2.65 4 lakh in Farenda (Maharajganj). Similarly the largest numbers of 32 candidates are in Deoria and the minimum nine in Kasia.
According to UP election watch report, 162 candidates have a criminal background. Even though the election commission has abandoned the concept of sensitive and hyper-sensitive constituencies, UPEW has identified 16 constituencies as "red zones" where more than four candidates of criminal background are in the fray.
Bishnoi said Maharajganj district was on the Nepal border and three districts- Kushinagar, Deoria and Balia on the Bihar border. The DGP told HT that both borders had been sealed.
Prominent contestants are Ambika Chaudhury, Ramgovind Chaudhury, Harishankar Tiwari, Amarmani Tripathi, Mukhtar Ansari, Beni Prasad Verma, Markandey Chand and Ram Bhuwal Nishad.
While stakes are high for main power contenders Samjawadi Party, BSP and BJP, it is especially significant for the Hindutav brigade led by BJP MP Yogi Adityanath. The districts going to polls are Ambedkar Nagar, Faizabad, Gorakhpur, Maharajganj, Kushinagar, Deoria, Mau, Azamgarh and Balia. In the last elections of the total 59 seats the SP had won 21, BSP 17, BJP 10, Congress four and LCP, Hindu Mahasabha, SJP, NLP one each and three independents.