Polling picks up in Uttar Pradesh, reaches 16 percent in 4 hours (Second Lead)

April 30th, 2009 - 2:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Lucknow, April 30 (IANS) Polling in 15 of Uttar Pradesh’s 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in the third of India’s five-phase parliamentary elections picked up Thursday after a slow start, with 15.9 percent voter turnout recorded by 11 a.m.
“The maximum turnout was reported from Sitapur where 20 percent polling was reported, while the lowest turnout was reported from Kanpur where 13 percent of the voters came out to exercise their franchise,” a senior election official told IANS here.

Rae Bareli, where Congress president Sonia Gandhi is seeking re-election, registered a turnout of 17.8 percent while it stood at 15 percent in the state capital.

According to initial reports, people were seen heading to the polling stations as soon as they opened at 7 a.m. Rural voters in Lucknow district seemed more enthusiastic than their urban counterparts as the polling booths in Mohanlalganj constituency witnessed a good turnout initially.

“We are here since 7 a.m. and the rural voters are turning up in large numbers to vote. We think people want to cast their vote before the temperature goes up,” said inspector Kalyan Singh, manning a booth near the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute (SGPGI).

Voter turnout in the state capital, however, was a bit low.

“The shops are closed, the traffic is restricted but the people are not yet coming out to vote,” said inspector Rajiv Singh, patrolling outside a booth in the posh Aliganj area here.

Lucknow, regarded the political bastion of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who represented it for five consecutive terms, is seeing a four-cornered contest this time among Vajpayee’s protege Lalji Tandon of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Akhilesh Das of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Rita Bahuguna Joshi of the Congress and Nafisa Ali of the Samajwadi Party (SP).

In all, 22.3 million voters are eligible to vote Thursday to decide the fate of 256 candidates, including 22 women.

The giant exercise is being carried out by over 100,000 officials and 65,000 security personnel across the 15 constituencies stretching from the Nepal border in the north to the Madhya Pradesh border in the south.

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