Lucknow: A very brisk
39 percent polling in the first six hours -- the highest so far --
was reported Thursday from most of the 49 assembly constituencies
that voted in the fifth round of the seven-phased Uttar Pradesh
elections, including areas considered the state's badlands.
There was no report of any untoward incident so far.
"Polling began at 7 a.m. and is going on very smoothly. Till 1
p.m. the turnout became 39 percent, the highest in the
corresponding period in all the phases so far," chief electoral
officer Umesh Sinha told IANS.
An electorate numbering 15,654,936 (men 8,653,345, women 7,001,279
and others 312) will seal the fate of 829 candidates, including 87
The political parties contesting in this phase are Bahujan Samaj
Party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress, Nationalist
Congress Party, Samajwadi Party (SP) and others.
Apart from Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's home Etawah,
other districts to witness the poll Thursday are Mainpuri,
Firozabad, Etah, Auraiya, Rama Bai Nagar, Kanshi Ram Nagar, Kanpur,
Jhansi, Hamirpur, Lalitpur, Mahoba and Jalaun.
This belt is an acid test for Mulayam, who is believed to command
a lot of influence over both the Yadav and other backward classes
in these parts.
Likewise, the prestige of BJP star campaigner Uma Bharti is also
at stake because she specially came from neighbouring Madhya
Pradesh in the hope of attracting the Lodhi backward caste
community, which has a major presence in large parts of
While Bharti is herself in the fray from Charkhari in Hamirpur
district, Mulayam's younger brother Shivpal Yadav is contesting
from the family bastion, Jaswant Nagar in Etawah.
Extremely heavy police deployments have been made for this phase,
which covers a large part of central Uttar Pradesh, better known
as the state's badlands.
While Sinha was tightlipped about the numbers, sources confirmed
that more than 800 companies of central paramilitary and state
armed police were in place to ensure a smooth, free and fair poll
in the otherwise "crime and violence-prone" region.
"Every polling booth has at least two central paramilitary
personnel, two state armed cops plus four homeguards," said a top