THE FIRST phase of Uttar Pradesh elections, held for 73 constituencies in some of its most sensitive areas, saw 64.22 per cent polling on Saturday in the 15 districts that went to polls. While rural voters came out in large numbers, urban areas recorded a low turnout. While the Election Commission did not give the figures of voter turnout in the corresponding seats in the 2012 Assembly polls, it said the percentage recorded on Saturday — The CEC described as “exemplary” — is higher than the 58.62 overall turnout recorded in the state then. The overall turnout in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls was 59.12 per cent.
The poll body said that while highest polling of 71.18 per cent was recorded in Fatehabad in Agra, the lowest footfall of 51 per cent was seen in Noida of Gautam Budha Nagar. Among districts, highest polling of 67.12 per cent was recorded in Shamli. While Ghaziabad district recorded the lowest average of 58.10 per cent polling, it was followed by Gautam Budh Nagar at 59.17 per cent.
Despite reports of clashes between workers of parties at some places, the EC claimed there was no violence and breach of law and order reported from at any place. “So far, we have received no recommendation for a repoll in any polling booth. No cases of poll vitiation have been reported,” Chief Electoral Officer T Venkatesh said.
“Reports of boycott of poll have been received from two booths in villages Guretha Sultanpur and Lakshminpur in Sikandararau as the locals were demanding a river bridge on the Hathras-Aligarh border,” he added. In Agra North seat, for the first time, e-postal ballot paper was conducted.
While Meerut saw stray clashes, polling passed off peacefully in the 15 districts, where 839 candidates, including 77 women, are in fray. Gagan Som, the brother of the BJP candidate from Sardhana in Meerut, Sangeet Singh Som, was arrested for carrying a pistol into a polling booth at Faridpur village in the seat. A case has been lodged and an inquiry ordered. At another place, RLD workers were accused of preventing Dalits from casting their vote.
Sangeet, who is the sitting MLA from Sardhana and is an accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, also got into a scrap when some Samajwadi Party workers objected to his presence at a polling booth in the constituency. Meerut DM B Chandrakala said action would be taken against both the groups. after polling.
In a similar incident at DAV Inter College in Kankarkhera area of Meerut, local BJP Vyapar Sangh leader Neeraj Mittal got into a spat with BSP workers over some slogans. The scuffle led to brick-batting between the two groups. A total of 839 candidates are in the fray from the 73 seats, with a total electorate of 2.59 crore. In 2012, the SP and BSP had both won 24 seats each here, the BJP had got 11, the RLD nine and the Congress five.