Lucknow: The second phase of polling in the key cow belt state of Uttar Pradesh Wednesday saw a turnout of 65.5% of the total 2,28,79,185 registered voters, according to the Election Commission.
The Election Commission said in Delhi the "very sensitive" second phase of polling in 67 assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh passed off peacefully and overall mood made it appear like a "festival of democracy".
Barring some places where Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) developed some snags, polling was smooth and peaceful in most of the 67 assembly constituencies across 11 districts.
Polling began on Wednesday morning amid tight security at 7 a.m. Long queues of women, differently-abled and elderly voters were seen in most parts outside the poll booths.
The seats where voting was held were spread over Bijnor, Saharanpur, Moradabad, Sambhal, Rampur, Bareilly, Amroha, Pilibhit, Kheri, Shahjahanpur and Badaun districts.
"Polling was held peacefully amid tight security," UP Chief Electoral Officer T Venkatesh said.
Officials said that maximum voting was reported from Saharanpur and Lakhimpur Kheri.
"Saharanpur saw 72 per cent polling, Bijnor 67 per cent, Rampur 62, Sambhal 64, Moradabad 65, Amroha 69.50, Budayun 62, Bareilly 65, Pilibhit 65, Shahjahanpur 62", they said.
The fate of 721 candidates, including 82 women, in the electoral fray were sealed on Tuesday as 2.28 crore voters in 11 districts of the North Indian state voted in the second phase of the 2017 assembly elections.
Of the 67 seats at stake in the second phase, the ruling Samajwadi Party had won 34 seats in the 2012 polls, followed by BSP 18, BJP 10, Congress three and others two.
The prominent contestants include senior Samajwadi Party leader and Minister Azam Khan and his son Abdullah Azam, who are contesting from Rampur and Swar seats respectively, Saif Ali Naqvi, son of former Congress MP Zafar Ali Naqvi, former central minister Jitin Prasada from Tilhar (Shahjahanpur), BJP Legislature Party leader Suresh Kumar Khanna from Shahjahanpur city and state minister Mehboob Ali from Amroha.
About 23,696 polling booths were set up across Saharanpur, Bijnor, Moradabad, Sambhal, Rampur, Bareilly, Amroha, Pilibhit, Lakhimpur Kheri, Shahjahanpur and Badaun districts of UP. The maximum candidates (22) are from Barhapur (Bijnor) and a minimum of four nominees from Dhanaura (Amroha).
Communal tensions in Bijnor cast their shadow on the polls in the district, where a 17-year-old was allegedly murdered by members of another community just five days before the polls. For the second time in less than six months, the twin villages of Peda and Nayagaon, both on the outskirts of Bijnor, were on the edge with communal tensions rising.
Drugs worth Rs. 1.16 crore and alcohol worth Rs 9 crore were seized.
In the 2012 assembly polls, the average polling in these constituencies was 64 per cent.
Elections began in seven phase Uttar Pradesh elections on February 11 with voting on 73 seats of the total 403 seats in the state assembly.