Lucknow, May 6: Amid tight security arrangements, polling commenced for the crucial fifth phase of elections in Uttar Pradesh in 14 Lok Sabha seats spread out in 16 districts of Central and Awas region on Monday.
Polling started at 7am and it will continue till 6pm. Before voting started, mock polling was done before the political representatives.Voters were witnessed reaching their respective booths well before the start of the polling. Long queues were witnessed at several booths already at 0630 hours.In Lucknow, voters queued up after their regular morning walk. Due to the severe heat wave conditions people were trying to cast their votes early.
Around 1.5 lakh security personnel have been deployed for conducting free and fair polls. Over 200 companies of central forces have been deployed in the phase, who held flag marches in the sensitive areas to instill confidence among the voters.
To maintain free and fair polls, Pratapgarh authorities have made house detention of 8 senior politicians including two legislators-- Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya and Vinod Saroj. A total of 182 candidates are in the fray in the 14 Lok Sabha seats in this phase.
Along with 14 Lok Sabha seats, repolling in 10 booths--8 of Shahjahanpur Lok Sabha seat and one each of Hamirpur and Agra Lok Sabha seats was being also held on Monday.The fate of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh (Lucknow), Congress president Rahul Gandhi (Amethi) and Union Textile minister Smriti Irani ( Amethi) along with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi (Rae Bareli) will be decided in this phase.
Former Union Minister Jitin Prasada (Dhaurara) and former UP Congress president Nirmal Khatri( Faizabad) will also try their luck in this phase. Faizabad will also go to polls in the phase.There are a total of 2.50 crore voters in this phase with male voters account to 1.34 crore male , female-- 1.16 crore and third gender are 1301. There are a total of 28,100 polling booths in this phase in which 3270 are identified as critical. Webcasting will be done from 2778 booths while 2143 micro observers have been deployed in the phase.
State chief electoral officer CEO Venketshwar Lu told UNI here on Monday that polling started in a smooth note in all the 14 constituency.He said except for some technical glitches in the EVMs in some booths, the polling took off peacefully.He said around 1,25,000 polling personnel have been deployed in this phase along with 2,145 sector magistrates, 273 zonal magistrates and 262 static magistrates to maintain law and order.
On first four phases covering 39 constituencies the polling percentage was between 58 and 63 . Like other phases it will be a big challenge for the authorities to maintain the poll percentage due to the heat wave conditions as mercury has crossed over 42 degree Celsius in most of the area where polling is underway.
" We have instructed drinking water, shed and other basic facilities for the voters in all the polling booths, " said the CEO. The constituencies going to polls in the fifth phase are: Dhaurara, Sitapur, Mohanlalganj, Lucknow, Rae Bareli, Amethi, Banda, Fatehpur, Kaushambi, Barabanki, Faizabad, Bahriach, Kaiserganj and Gonda.
Lucknow has the highest number of 20,,38,725 voters while Dhaurahra has the lowest of 16,44,156 voters. Amethi has the highest number of 27 candidates in the fray in this phase, followed by 15 each in Lucknow, Rae Bareli and Gonda, 13 each in Barabanki and Faizabad, 12 each in Kaushambi, Kaiserganj and Mohanlalganj, 10 each in Bahriach and Fatehpur and lowest of 8 each on Banda and Dhaurahra Lok Sabha constituencies.
The number of candidates with criminal background in the fifth phase of elections has gone up to 24 per cent while 36 per cent are crorepatis.
A total of 43 candidates have declared criminal cases against them with 40 of them having heinous cases registered against them in this phase. Of the total candidates in this phase, 64 are crorepatis.
Ms Sarita S Nayar, an independent candidate from Amethi, has the maximum number of 34 cases which include 87 serious sections of the IPC. In two cases, she had been convicted too. Ms Poonam Sinha is the richest candidate in the fifth phase with an asset of Rs 193 crore. Electrifying campaigning for the fifth phase of polls in 14 seats of central Uttar Pradesh covering important seats like Nehru-Gandhi borough of Amethi-Rae Bareli, along with the state capital, ended on Saturday evening.
The campaigning in this phase by Congress and BJP was intensive bringing forth the strong rivalry between the Congress and the SP-BSP alliance.The campaigning in the Nehru-Gandhi borough of Rae Bareli-Amethi witnessed massive roadside and street corner meetings by Congress general secretary for UP (East) Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who held the citadel of her mother and brother. However, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi too are campaigning in the constituencies frequently.
The UPA chairperson had not campaigned anywhere in the country except for Rae Bareli, while Ms Vadra, too, had concentrated in UP only.Several senior Congress leaders from all over the country also made their presence felt in Amethi and Rae Bareli. On the last day of the campaigning, BJP chief Amit Shah held an impressive road show in Amethi in support of Textiles Minister Smriti Irani.
On the other hand, BJP campaigned in a big way in this phase too. PM Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, along with UP CM Yogi Adityanath and several union ministers and senior leaders, touched upon almost all the 14 constituencies. The PM addressed meetings in Sitapur, Banda, Kaushambi, Bahriach and Barabanki in this phase while Mr Shah also campaigned in Barabanki, Bahriach, Mohanlalganj and Lucknow.
The CM too addressed meetings in almost all the poll-bound constituencies. Actor-turned-politician Sunny Deol, who is BJP candidate from Gurudaspur,Punjab, held a roadshow in Rae Bareli in support of BJP candidate Dinesh Pratap Singh against Ms Gandhi. The SP-BSP alliance held joint rallies in Barabanki and Sitapur, while they also carried out separate campaignings in several seats.
The electioneering in the state capital was also electrifying where Home Minister Rajnath Singh, SP's Poonam Sinha and Congress' candidate Acharya Pramod Krishnam are in fray. Poonam Sinha, along with star daughter Sonakshi Sinha and husband Shatrughan Sinha, had campaigned too vigorously in Lucknow. (UNI)