Brisk polling in fourth phase in UP; Drought-hit Bundelkhand in focus

RSTV Bureau

The crucial fourth phase polling in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections began at 7 am witnessing a good number of voters at polling booths.

An estimated 12 to 15 percent of voters turned out to exercise their franchise till 10 AM during the fourth phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday.

The pace of voting was initially slow but picked up gradually as the day advanced, the office of UP Chief Electoral Officer said.

“Around 12 to 15 per cent polling was recorded in the first three hours,” said CEO office adding that the exercise was by and large peaceful

With 53 seats covering 12 districts, this phase is pitched to be very important for all the three contenders to the Lucknow throne — the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP), the BJP and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP).

 Election officers gather at a distribution centre to receive Electronic Voting Machines for their respective polling stations on the eve of fourth phase of UP polling in Allahabad  Photo-PTI

Election officers gather at a distribution centre to receive Electronic Voting Machines for their respective polling stations on the eve of fourth phase of UP polling in Allahabad
Photo-PTI

Seven of these 12 districts form the drought hit – Bundelkhand region, an area also known for poverty and backwardness. The current phase also contains the constituencies in Gandhi bastion- Rae Bareli.

Other districts going to polls in this phase are Pratapgarh, Kaushambi, Allahabad, Jalaun, Jhansi, Lalitpur, Mahoba, Banda, Hamirpur, Chitrakoot and Fatehpur.Backward and water-scarce Bundelkhand region also figures in this phase.

The fate of 680 candidates will be decided by 1.84 crore voters including 84 lakh women and 1,032 of third gender.

Prominent contestants include sitting MLA Aradhana Mishra from Rampur Khas (Pratapgarh), the daughter of Congress MP Pramod Tiwari, and Independent MLA and minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya, who is again contesting from his traditional Kunda (Pratapgarh) seat.

up-banne5In Rae Bareli, Aditi Singh is contesting on Congress ticket, BSP turncoat Swami Prasad Maurya’s son Utkarsh Maurya is in fray from Unchahar seat, while Leader of Opposition Gaya Charan Dinkar is contesting from Naraini (Banda) seat.

Senior SP leader Reoti Raman Singh’s son Ujjwal Raman Singh is in the race from Karchana (Allahabad) seat.

In the 2012 polls, the SP had won nearly half the seats — 24 — followed by the BSP (15), the Congress (6), and the BJP managed just 5. However, in the 2014 parliamentary elections, the region voted for the BJP expecting a generous grant from the Centre.

Elections for UP legislative assembly are being held in seven phases, with three more on February 27, March 4 and 8 to follow after today’s polling. Election results will be out on March 11.