Even as polling progressed in 11 constituencies in Uttar Pradesh till 11 am 24.77% voters had exercised their franchise. Voting was so far peaceful with some complaints of technical snags in EVM.
One voter Hariram committed suicide after failing to cast vote in Aonla parliamentary constituency. The chief electoral officer Umesh Sinha said it was unfortunate and probe is on. According to information Hariram, who had voter ID could not find his name in the voter list at the polling booth.
The state government has deployed extra security forces for peaceful polling in view of the communal sensitivity of the region and proximity of some parts to the region to the Nepal border.
Source said apart from 176 companies of central paramilitary forces, the government had deployed 37,000 policemen, 70 companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary, 4500 sub-inspectors and a huge contingent of home guards in 11 constituencies.
Around 1.85 crore voters are expected to exercise their franchise in Nagina, Moradabad, Rampur, Sambhal, Amroha, Badaun, Aonla, Barielly, Pilibhit, Shahjehanpur and Kheri.
There are 150 candidates, including 17 women, are in the fray. The polling would conclude at six pm.
In the 2009 election, the SP won four of these 11 seats. The Congress bagged three and the BJP won two. One seat each went to the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD).
The key contestants whose fate be would sealed in EVMs today are: Dharmendra Yadav (SP-Badaun), Shafiqur Rahman Barq (SP-Sambhal), Maneka Gandhi (BJP-Pilibhit), Haji Yaqoob Quereshi (BSP-Moradabad), Begum Noor Bano (Congress-Moradabad), Kazim Ali Khan (Congress-Rampur), Praveen Singh Aron (Congress-Bareilly), Salim Iqbal Sherwani (Congress-Aonla) and Zafar Ali Naqvi (Congress-Kheri)
Polling will be held in Nagina, Moradabad, Rampur, Sambhal, Amroha, Badaun, Aonla, Barielly, Pilibhit, Shahjehanpur and Kheri. Shahjehanpur is the largest constituency with 19.78 lakh voters while Nagina is the smallest with 14.92 lakh eligible electors.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the Samajwadi Party had won four of the 11 seats that will conduct the vote on Thursday. The Congress bagged three and the Bharatiya Janata Party won two. One seat each went to the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD).
Among the prominent candidates in the 11 seats are the SP’s Dharmendra Yadav and Shafiqur Rahman, the BSP’s Haji Yaqoob Quereshi and the Congress’ Begum Noor Bano, Kazim Ali Khan, Praveen Singh Aron, Salim Iqbal Sherwani and Zafar Ali Naqvi.
The first phase of the elections in the communally sensitive western UP reported a 14 percentage point increase in polling in Muzaffarnagar — from 54% in 2009 to 68.27%. The story repeated itself in the other nine constituencies too in the first big day of the poll battle on Thursday last week.
The state government has deployed additional security forces for peaceful polling in the region. Last year’s communal clashes between Jats and Muslims in western Uttar Pradesh dominated the political campaign this year, with attempts to polarise voters. The proximity of some parts of the region to the Nepal border has also called for a strict vigil.
Apart from 176 companies of central paramilitary forces, the government has deployed 37,000 policemen, 70 companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary, 4500 sub-inspectors and a huge contingent of home guards in the 11 constituencies, sources said.
More than 77,500 election personnel have also been deployed at 18,910 polling stations, Uttar Pradesh’s chief electoral officer Umesh Sinha said.
The Congress’ performance in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections in the state had surprised the party more than its opponents.
Although it triggered the hope of a Congress revival after two decades of dreary existence, five years later, the party hopes that its state bigwigs, despite the BJP’s claims of Narendra Modi wave, will be able to keep the party afloat in at least half of the 22 constituencies – including the Gandhi bastions of Rae Bareli and Amethi – it won in 2009.
(With inputs from IANS)
Full Coverage: My India My Vote
Here's a map of the constituencies going to polls on Thursday. On searching, you will get details of all parties fighting from a constituency and its key candidates: