Lucknow: Around 56 per cent of the 1.41 crore voters exercised their franchise till 4 PM today in the seventh and last phase of Uttar Pradesh elections covering 40 Assembly seats spread over seven districts.
Polling started amidst tight security arrangements this morning and gained momentum as the day advanced.
All eyes are on the Assembly segments in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi.
“Around 56 per cent votes were polled till 4 PM. The polling is going on peacefully,” according to the office of the UP Chief Electoral Officer here.
Assembly constituencies in Varanasi saw 45 per cent polling while the Naxal-hit Mirzapur had 47.50 per cent polling till 4 PM, it said.
Three Naxal-affected districts of Sonbhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli, along with the five Assembly segments under Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency, are in prime focus.
Tight security has been put in place in these seven districts.
Ghazipur, Jaunpur and Bhadoi are the other districts where polling is going on in this phase.
In Jaunpur, BJP candidate from Jafarabad seat Harendra Pratap Singh and four others were arrested for allegedly carrying voters to polling booths in two vehicles.
Singh, however, denied the charge.
Polling will conclude 5 PM in all constituencies, except Naxal-hit Duddhi, Robertsganj and Chakia seats, where it ended at 4 PM.
The counting of votes polled in all the seven phases of the Assembly polls will be taken up on March 11.
Among the voters in this phase polling, 64.76 lakh are women.
14,458 polling booths and 8,682 polling centres have been set up for today’s exercise which will decide fate of 585 candidates, including 51 women.
The BJP is contesting 32 seats and its allies – the Apana Dal and the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party – are contesting on four seats each.
The BSP has fielded its nominees for all seats.
While the SP is contesting 31 seats, its ally the Congress is in race for the remaining seats.
In the 2012 state Assembly polls, out of these 40 seats, 23 went to the SP, 5 to the BSP, 4 to the BJP, 3 to the Congress and 5 to others.
In all, 535 candidates, including BSP (40), BJP (32), SP (31), Cong (9), RLD 21, and NCP (5) are in the fray.
While the maximum number of 24 candidates are from Varanasi Cantt seat, the minimum number of 6 candidates are contesting from Kerakat (SC).
Prominent candidates who are in fray include former Cabinet minister Om Prakash, Parasnath Yadav, Ajay Rai, former MP Dhananjay Singh, Sigbatullah Ansari, brother of Mukhtar Ansari, and Seema Singh wife of jailed mafia Munna Bajrangi.
The turnout on these seats in 2012 was 57.92 per cent in 2012 Assembly polls. PTI
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