THE ASSEMBLY bypolls on 11 seats in the state recorded 47.05 per cent voting Monday, an overall dip from the 2012 and 2017 Assembly elections. While Gangoh seat in Saharanpur recorded the highest pollling at 60.30 per cent, the Lucknow Cantonment saw the lowest turnout at 28.53 per cent.
According to the office of the UP Chief Electoral Officer, among the other constituencies, Jalalpur witnessed 58.80 per cent polling followed by Zaidpur (58), Manikpur (52.10), Balha (52), Ghosi (51), Rampur (44), Pratapgarh (44), Iglas (36.20) and Govindnagar (32.60).
The polling percentage in 2017 stood at 71.92 per cent in Gangoh followed by Zaidpur (69.71), Iglas (64.88), Jalalpur (62.55), Manikpur (59.44), Ghosi (58.67), Balha (57.83), Rampur (56.16), Pratapgarh (55.56), Govindnagar (52.48) and Lucknow Cantonment (50.77).
According to CEO Ratnesh Singh, the voting percentage on every seat was less than the respective voting percentage both in 2012 and 2017 Assembly election.
State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ajay Kumar Shukla said the voting was peaceful and no untoward incident or complaint of booth capturing was reported.
However, there were a few complaints of delay in voting due to faulty Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in different Assembly seats. In Lucknow Cantonment’s Sadar area, EVM at a polling booth was changed twice. In Mau, there was a delay in voting after the EVM at booth number 34 wasn’t working properly.
Earlier, people in Mahoa village of Iglas Assembly area in Aligarh decided to boycott voting over the stray cattle menace in the village. No vote was cast in the village with around 2,200 voters till around 11:30 am, after which the Additional District Magistrate went to the village and assured the villagers that a solution would be found to their problem.
“Our crops are being destroyed by bulls and cows. This started around two years ago. Now the farmers either spend a lot of money in barricading fileds or spend day and night on the field itself. We are anguished and decided to boycott the election. However, after the intervention of the district administration some of us agreed to vote. However, only 460 votes were cast by the time polling ended,” said the village pradhan’s husband, Praveen Tomar. He claimed that around a dozen surrounding villages had also decided to boycott voting because of similar issues.
Earlier in the day, Rampur MP Azam Khan’s wife Tazeen Fatma, who is contesting from Rampur Vidhan Sabha, alleged that police personnel were creating problems for the voters. She also alleged that the government was misusing power. However, media in-charge at the CEO’s office Ashok Kumar, said no merit was found in the allegations.
A total of 41.08 voters were enrolled for voting on the 11 seats and a total of 109 candidates were in the fray. A total of 4,539 polling booths and 2,307 polling centres were set up for the bypolls. Of the 11 seats, eight were earlier held by the BJP and one by its ally Apna Dal (Sonelal).
The seats of Rampur and Jalalpur (Ambedkarnagar) were held by the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, respectively.
The BJP, the BSP, the SP and the Congress have fielded their candidates on all seats.
The maximum candidates–13 each- contested from Lucknow Cantonment and Jalalpur assembly constituencies followed by 11 each in Ghosi, Gangoh, Pratapgarh and Balha. Nine candidates each are in the fray from Govindnagar and Manikpur. Seven each contested from the Rampur, Iglas and Zaidpur assembly segments. State BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh and UP Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu exuded confidence that their parties would emerge victorious in the bypolls.
While Singh claimed that the bypolls would be a “one- sided” affair for the BJP, Lallu said there were “indications of good results for their party”. In the UP legislative assembly, the BJP currently has 302 members followed by the SP (47) and the BSP (18). The BJP ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) has eight legislators, while the Congress has seven MLAs in the House. WITH PTI