Lucknow: Polling continued at a brisk pace in the sixth phase of UP Assembly elections covering 68 seats with about 50 per cent of the over 2.17 crore voters exercising their franchise till 3 PM. "Polling started at 7 AM and 49.93 per cent votes were polled till 3 PM," Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha said.
A maximum 55.2 per cent polling was recorded in Saharanpur districts.
Among other districts, 50.8 per cent votes were polled in Aligarh, 51 per cent each in Agra, 52.14 per cent in Bulandshahr, 436.3 per cent in Gautam Buddha Nagar, 45.2 per cent in Muzaffarnagar, 50 per cent in Panchsheel Nagar, 49 per cent in Prabuddha Nagar and 54 per cent in Meerut. There were reports of police using mild force to disperse a local BSP leader and his supporters creating ruckus at a polling centre at Singhani gate area in Ghaziabad.
This phase would test the popularity of Congress' alliance with the RLD which has a stronghold in the western region of the state.
They were protesting against absence of booth level officer to distribute voter slips. Similarly, in Agra, people created a ruckus at a centre at Ahmadia Hameedia college in Mantola alleging irregularities in electoral rolls. Senior officers have reached the spot.
Polling in Noida, Dadri and Jewar assembly seats in Gautam Buddh Nagar was going on peacefully. In Bhatta Parsaul, which was the centre of the land acquisition row, farmers were seen coming out to vote. Their leader Manvir Singh Tevatia, who had spearheaded the farmers' agitation, is fighting election from jail. The area falls under Jewar Assembly seat.
Congress has fielded Dhirendra Singh from Jewar. He was the man on whose bike Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi had reached Bhatta Parsaul last year.
In Chief Minister Mayawati's native Badalpur village, farmers had lined up to cast their vote. BSP has fielded Satvir Gujjar, sitting MLA from here, while Congress has fielded Samir Bhatti.
Bhatti had once served as MLA from Dadri and his father Mahinder Singh Bhatti was twice MLA from here. BJP has fielded Nawab Singh Nagar, who was twice elected MLA from here in the past. Samajwadi Party has fielded Raj Kumar Bhatti as candidate.
In Noida, which has become an assembly seat for the first time, a good turnout is expected. Earlier Noida was part of Dadri assembly seat and rural voters used to decide the winning pattern here.
Mahesh Sharma is BJP candidate from Noida while VS Chauhan is Congress candidate. Om Dutt Sharma is BSP candidate while Sunil Choudhary is the SP candidate. Polling is underway in assembly seats in Saharanpur, Prabuddha Nagar, Meerut, Bagpath, Ghaziabad, Panchsheel Nagar, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Muzaffarnagar, Mathura, Mahamayanagar and Agra.
More than 2.17 crore voters are expected to cast their votes to decide the fate of 1103 candidates, including 86 women.
The CEO said that polling was being held at 22,137 polling stations at 12,181 centres, of which 3,188 centres and 4,892 stations have been marked as sensitive.
To keep a tight vigil on polling process, 1,015 video cameras and 2,353 digital cameras have been installed. In the 2007 assembly polls, 46.58 per cent votes were polled for 67 seats of which BSP got 35, BJP 12, RLD 10, SP 3, Congress 2 and others 5. All the political parties including Congress, SP, BSP, BJP and RLD have done hectic campaigning in the Jat land of the state.
This phase would test the popularity of Congress' alliance with Ajit Singh led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) which has stronghold in the western region of the state.