Amid unprecedented security arrangements, polling for nine districts by and large passed off peacefully in all the districts that went to polls in the sixth phase of Assembly elections on Thursday.
"There was absolutely no report of any untoward incident from any part of Varanasi zone including Ghazipur, Chandauli, Jaunpur, Mirzapur, Bhadhoi, Sonebhadra etc", IG Varanasi zone KK Saxena told HT on phone.
By-poll for two Parliamentary seats of Mirzapur-Bhadhoi and Robertsganj also went off peacefully on Thursday. However, what was lacking was the enthusiasm among voters as voter turnout in the urban was much less than in rural areas of Varanasi, Chandauli, Bhadhoi, Mirzapur, Sonebhadra, Jaunpur and Ghazipur.
According to reports, there was brisk polling in Naxal areas of Naugarh, Chakia in Chandauli district and other areas Naxal-hit Sonebhara and Mirzapur. Aerial patrolling in the three Naxal hit districts was undertaken to ensure smooth and peacefull polling in these districts.
The aerial patrolling was undertaken among others by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Varanasi Zone KK Saxena, Chief Election Observer Rakesh, IG Indo-Tibetan Border police GM Singh besides the DIG of CRPF etc.
As out of 785 candidates in the fray in 52 assembly segments, 138 candidates have criminal cases pending against them, deputy election commissioner P Jai Prakash supervised polling in hypersensitive constituencies like Danapur in Chandauli district, Mohammadabad in Ghazipur and Gyanpur in Bhadhoi district.
Stray reports of poll boycott at a few places in Varanasi cantonment, Kolasla and Chanduli were reported during early hours on different issues ranging from dilapidated road conditions, to delay in arrest of murder accused etc. However, officials managed to convince the electorate in these areas and restored polling process.
At some polling booths like Harsundri in Varanasi South constituency, National inter-college Pilikothi and many other areas polling started late due to technical fault in the electoric voting machines.
Reports said that a polling official KR Shrma was detained for allegedly influencing voters in favour of a particular party candidate in Kuri polling centre under Kolasla assembly segment.
Prominent among those whose political fortunes were sealed in EVMs on Thursday included Apna Dal chief Sone Lal Patel, BJP's Om Prakash Singh (Chunar), Samajwadi Party's minister Virendra Singh (Chiraigaon), SP's minister Om Prakash Singh (Dildarnagar), BJP's Surjeet Singh Dung (Mirzapur sadar), BSP's Ranganath Mishra (Aurai), five time BJP MLA Shyamdeo Roy Chaudhary (Varanasi South), BJP's Alka Rai widow of slain Krishnanad Rai (Mohammadabad) etc.
Some of the districts which went to polls on sixth phase are Varanasi (7 constituencies including Saidpur), Gazipur (7 constituencies), Chandauli (4), Bhadhoi (3), Mirzapur (5), Sonebhadra (2), Jaunpur (10) besides 11 others constituencies in Allahabad etc.