Brisk polling in fifth phase of UP poll (Lead)February 23rd, 2012 - 12:55 pm ICT by IANS
Lucknow, Feb 23 (IANS) Brisk polling was reported Thursday from most of the 49 assembly constituencies that voted in the fifth round of the seven-phased Uttar Pradesh elections, including areas considered the state’s badlands.
“Polling began at 7 a.m. and is going on very smoothly. In the first four hours it is estimated to have crossed 21 percent,” chief electoral officer Umesh Sinha told IANS.
He was hopeful of a further rise in turnout. “The weather has changed and I am sure that with the winter chill gone, more and more people will come out to vote,” Sinha said.
An electorate numbering 15,654,936 (men 8,653,345, women 7,001,279 and others 312) will seal the fate of 829 candidates, including 87 women candidates.
The political parties contesting in this phase are Bahujan Samaj Party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Samajwadi Party (SP) and others.
Apart from Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s home Etawah, other districts to witness the poll Thursday were Mainpuri, Firozabad, Etah, Auraiya, Rama Bai Nagar, Kanshi Ram Nagar, Kanpur, Jhansi, Hamirpur, Lalitpur, Mahoba and Jalaun.
This belt is an acid test for Mulayam, who is believed to command a lot of influence over both the Yadav and other backward classes in these parts.
Likewise, the prestige of BJP star campaigner Uma Bharti is also at stake because she specially came from neighbouring Madhya Pradesh in the hope of attracting the Lodhi backward caste community, which has a major presence in large parts of Bundelkhand region.
While Bharti is herself in the fray from Charkhari in Hamirpur district, Mulayam’s younger brother Shivpal Yadav was contesting from the family bastion, Jaswant Nagar in Etawah.
Extremely heavy police deployments have been made for this phase, which covers a large part of central Uttar Pradesh, better known as the state’s badlands.
While Sinha was tightlipped about the numbers, sources confirmed that more than 800 companies of central paramilitary and state armed police were place to ensure a smooth, free and fair poll in the otherwise “crime and violence-prone” region.
“Every polling booth has at least two central paramilitary personnel, two state armed cops plus four homeguards,” said a top police official.
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Tags: acid test, assembly constituencies, badlands, bharti, campaigner, chief electoral officer, fifth phase, firozabad, hamirpur, jhansi, kanpur, kanshi ram, lalitpur, madhya pradesh, mahoba, nationalist congress party, party chief, Samajwadi Party, winter chill, yadav