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High turnout, peaceful voting in UP sixth phase elections

Tuesday February 28, 2012 07:33:44 PM, IANS

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Sixth phase of UP polls - Facts at a glance

Lucknow: The high stakes battle for power in Uttar Pradesh entered the last lap Tuesday with 60 percent peaceful voting in the sixth and penultimate round of the assembly elections that end next week.

The turnout among the 2.11 crore voters was in keeping with the high percentage in the last five rounds. Polling in 68 constituencies across 13 districts in western Uttar Pradesh had begun at 7 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m.

"Today appears to be more like the first phase when polling crossed the 60 per cent mark", chief electoral officer Umesh Sinha told IANS at the close of balloting.

"The highest turnout was reported from Saharanpur district, where it touched nearly 65 per cent, while the lowest was reported from Gautam Budh Nagar (Noida) at about 56 per cent," he added.

In Agra too, there was high voting with the polling percentage crossing 51 percent at 3 p.m., two hours before polling ended.

"Polling started at 7 am and it is heartening that about 60 percent of the 2.17 crore voters responded to echoing appeals of the Election Commission to exercise their franchise", Sinha said, adding: "This is way ahead of the turnout of barely 46 percent at the last assembly election," Sinha said.

The fate of 1,103 candidates was sealed in some 30,000 electronic voting machines installed at 21,317 polling stations across the districts of Saharanpur, Prabudh Nagar, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Baghpat. Ghaziabad, Gautam Buidh Nagar, Panchseel Nagar, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Mahamaya Nagar, Mathura and Agra.

Though the belt is notorious for its feudal traditions, this phase had 9,391,585 women listed as voters, the highest, besides 712 eunuchs.

Except for two minor incidents, polling remained peaceful all over the otherwise volatile belt of western UP. According to reports, police used mild force to disperse a ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader and his supporters who were creating a ruckus at a polling centre at Singhani Gate area of Ghaziabad because of a delay in issuing voter slips.

Some people attempted to create some ruckus at a polling centre at Ahmadia Hameedia College in Man-Tola locality of Agra over alleged inconsistencies in the electoral rolls.

While the elections were proceeding peacefully, there were some glitches as well. Key Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal was on his way to Goa but returned from the airport to vote from Ghaziabad only to find his name missing from the voters list.

Among the candidates testing their luck in the sixth phase was Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh's son Jayant Chaudhury.

The impact of the Congress-RLD combine on the Jat and the Muslim voters, who dominate large parts of the 13 districts, was on test. While the Samajwadi Party (SP) vied desperately for the Muslim vote, the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) tried hard to retain its chunk of 35 seats won in 2007.

Four of the 13 districts witnessing the poll have a substantial Muslim population ranging between 25-39 percent, while the remaining nine districts have 18-22 percent Muslims.

Counting of votes for this high stakes battle will be done March 6.







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