Amid soaring mercury and tight security arrangements around 46 per cent electorates on Monday voted for 922 candidates in fourth phase state assembly election in 57 constituencies in ten districts. There was no report of violence or booth capturing from Kurmi-Muslim dominated region.
Talking to newsmen in Lucknow on Monday the chief electoral officer AK Bishnoi said that polling was peaceful. He said the commission had received 10 complaints regarding missing names in voter lists and problems in photo identity cards. Bishnoi said deputy election commissioner JP Prakash hopped around in ten districts by helicopter. He said special observers were also deputed in each district.
These districts with total population of 2.30 crore had 1.57 electorates. There were 116 candidates facing criminal charges. The fate of assembly Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey, labour minister Dr Waqar Ahmad Shah, Congress leader Jagdambika Pal, Reshma Arif wife of BJP leader Arif Mohammad Khan, Rakesh Verma, retired IAS officer PL Punia and others was locked in electronic voting machines. The districts, which went to the polls, were Lakhimkhiri, Sitapur, Barabanki, Bahraich, Shravasti, Balrampur, Gonda, Basti, Sidharth Nagar and Sant Kabir Nagar.
Expressing satisfaction over voters’ turn out Bishnoi said central para-military forces (CPMF) had provided sense of security to the electorate and they were deterrent to bogus voters. The CEO said the commission had succeeded in ensuring fear-free atmosphere to the voters. He said of the total 1.57 crore electorate at least 12 lakh voters were missing.
The maximum turnout of 50 percent was in Dhraura, Behta, Masauli, Shohratgarh and Basti and minimum was 35.5 percent in Khalilabad in Sant Kabir Nagar.
He said Gonda police late Sunday night arrested Congress candidate from Mankapur Sushil alias Babban Paswan and seized illegal weapons from his vehicle. The voters of village Gauron in Sidharth Nagar boycotted the polling as polling centre was set up nearly eight km from the village. While a 15-year-old boy was arrested in Basti trying to cast fake vote, the CMPF arrested one Lalmani Tiwari with illegal arms in Basti.
While rebel Samajwadi Party MP Beni Verma’s son Rakesh Verma was locked in bitter fight in Masauli and Dariyabad constituencies, the presence of Reshma Arif in Bahraich constituency had made Dr Shah’s task tough.
Bishnoi said these constituencies had recorded 56.47 percent voting in 2002 elections and 2004 Lok Sabha polls the polling in these constituencies was 45.7 percent. While the polling started on dull note early in the morning it picked up during the day and there was massive rush of the people by the time the polling came to an end.