Polling underway in Uttar Pradesh

April 30th, 2009 - 10:23 am ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Lucknow, April 30 (IANS) Polling in 15 of Uttar Pradesh’s 80 Lok Sabha constituencies was underway Thursday in the third of India’s five-phase parliamentary elections.
According to initial reports, people were seen heading to the polling booths as soon as they opened at 7 a.m.

“I wanted to be the first one to cast my vote and save myself from the day’s heat,” said Irshad Ali, a driver.

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.

Rae Bareli is the constituency in the spotlight with Congress president Sonia Gandhi seeking re-election from there.

Lucknow is another high profile constituency where balloting is taking place Thursday. Regarded the political bastion of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who held on to this seat for five consecutive terms, it will offer an interesting four-cornered contest this time among Vajpayee’s protege Lalji Tandon of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) nominee Akhilesh Das, Rita Bahuguna Joshi of the Congress and Nafisa Ali of the Samajwadi Party.

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