More than 60% voters on Thursday exercised their franchise in Uttar Pradesh, where polling was held in 12 seats in the third phase of Lok Sabha elections to decide the fate of 188 candidates. Around 47% people had turned up to vote in these constituencies in the 2009 polls.
Turnouts higher than 2009 figures were recorded in the 12 constituencies — Hathras, Mathura, Agra, Fatehpur Sikiri, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etah, Hardoi, Farrukhabad, Etawah, Kannauj and Akbarpur. A high turnout traditionally indicates anti-incumbency.
Many youngsters said they voted for change. “I want to make a difference. I want development of the place where I live. This is why I joined the queue at 7am and made sure I went back home only after casting my vote,” Shubham Tiwari said in Kalyanpur.
The turnouts in the first two phases of polling in the state were 65% and 63% respectively. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the SP won five, the RLD two, the Congress two and the BJP and BSP one each apart from an Independent of the 12 seats.
Long queues were seen outside polling stations even before voting began at 7am and Polling remained largely peaceful except for stray incidents of violence in Mathura and Etah amid tight security.
Meanwhile, in-charge of Merapur police station Ram Sajeevan Yadav was suspended with immediate effect on allegation of partiality during the polling.
With the completion of third round of balloting in the state, polling was completed in 33 of the 80 constituencies. The other 47 seats will vote in the remaining three phases with the concluding leg on May 12.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, senior cabinet minister Shivpal Singh Yadav exercised their vote along with their family members in Etawah. Akhilesh Yadav said his party was emerging stronger after every round of polling in UP. The people were voting for the development of the state, he added.
The chief minister's wife, Dimple Yadav, is also seeking re-election from Kannauj Lok Sabha constituency. She is pitted against BSP's Nirmal Tiwari and BJP's Subrat Pathak.
Dimple had won the by-elections from Kannauj unopposed in 2012. She has been campaigning hard to retain the seat that her husband vacated after becoming chief minister.
Union minister Salman Khurshid exercised his franchise at a polling centre at a Pitaura in Farukkhabad. The Congress candidate is seeking re-election from Farrukhabad constituency and is up against BSP's Jaiveer Singh, SP's Rameshwar Singh and BJP's Mukesh Rajput.
Other prominent candidates in this phase include former SP general secretary Amar Singh contesting on an RLD ticket from Fatehpur Sikri, actor-turned-politician Hema Malini contesting from Mathura on a BJP ticket, and former chief minister Kalyan Singh's son Rajbir Singh from Etah on a BJP ticket.
SP general secretary Ramgopal Yadav's son Akshay Yadav is also contesting from Firozabad, where BJP leader Purshottan Khandelwal on Thursday accused the administration of not identifying sensitive booths properly. He said the local administration was biased towards the ruling SP.
In view of high sensitivity of the region, the election commission had appointed 12 general and 12 expenditure observers along with two police observers for free and fair polling. Furthur, 1951 sector magistrates, 252 zonal magistrates and 208 static magistrates were also deployed.
A total of 188 candidates, including 20 women, are in the fray in this phase.
Agra is the largest constituency with 18.14 lakh voters, while Etah is the smallest with 15.77 lakh voters.
In the second phase of voting on April 17, 63% voter turnout was recorded in 11 Lok Sabha constituencies of western UP and Rohilkhand. The balloting in these seats rose by 8%, compared to the 54% voter turnout during the 2009 general elections.
The first phase of polling on April 10 had seen a record turnout in 10 Lok Sabha seats in communally sensitive western Uttar Pradesh, where political parties have been trying to polarise voters. A 14% increase was reported in polling in riot-hit Muzaffarnagar — from 54% in 2009 to 68.27%.
Updates from other states polling in Phase 6:
Full coverage:My India my vote
Key candidates in fray
Here's a map for the constituencies going to polls on Thursday. On searching, you will get details of all parties fighting from a constituency and key candiates there:
Facts and Figures