The stage is set for second phase of polling in 58 constituencies in western UP on Friday. While making massive security arrangements, the election commission has also deployed 100 micro observers to keep vigil in the region known for poll violence and booth capturing. Stakes are high for BSP, BJP and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) in this round.
Talking to newsmen on Thursday the chief electoral officer AK Bishnoi said adequate security arrangements had been made for peaceful polling. Bishnoi said "vulnerable areas" belonging to weaker section had been identified and the central para-military forces (CPMF) had taken necessary measures to scuttle the plan of anti-social elements. He said 58 constituencies were in Mathura, Hathras, Aligarh, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Bulandshahr, Meerut, Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar, Ghaziabad and Saharanpur.
The deputy election commissioner JP Prakash would be making surprise checks of the polling stations by helicopter. He said the administration had also identified trouble-makers in every constituency.
Bishnoi said during the last two days the deputy election commissioner Balakrishnan visited all the ten districts going to polls and reviewed the preparations. He was accompanied by Bishnoi, ADG (law and order) Atul and IG CRPF Karamvir Singh. He said apart from 660 companies of CPMF, UP police PAC had been deployed for polling.
Of the total 881 candidates, prominent contestants are former chief minister Kalyan Singh’s son Rajbir Singh, his daughter-in-law Premlata Devi, cartoon-bounty fame minister for minorities’ welfare Haji Yaqoob Qureshi, education minister Kiranpal Singh, former RLD minister Kaukab Hamid, Shyam Sunder Sharma and Dr Laxmikant Bajpai.
Bishnoi said the polling agents had been allowed take voter lists inside the polling stations and tally it with the lists of presiding officers but they would not be allowed to take it outside till the completion of polling.
In view of the complaints about massive rush in preparation of student identity cards, the commission on Thursday directed the district magistrates to look into the matter and stop its misuse. The commission has permitted student I card as one of the alternatives for identification at the polling station. He said additional polling officer would be deployed if the voters’ number was more than 1200.