Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh registered a turnout of 61.16% in the third phase of assembly elections in which 69 constituencies went to poll on Sunday, according to the Election Commission (EC).
UP Chief Electoral Officer T Venkatesh said the turnout is expected to go up to 63% in this phase.
In the 2012 Assembly and 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the turnout in these areas was 59.96% and 58.43% respectively. UP which is going to poll in seven phases has seen high voter turnouts in the first two phases with 64.22% in the first phase and 65.5% in the second phase.
The EC official said this phase saw a record seizure of Rs38.4 crore in cash and 2.04 lakh litres of liquor.
Apart from Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati, Union home minister Rajnath Singh cast his vote along with his family members in Lucknow, while chief minister Akhilesh Yadav voted in Saifai (Etawah).
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Most of the leaders claimed that the parties they represent will form the next government in the state. Mayawati, who cast her vote in the Mall Avenue area, told reporters that BSP would win over 300 of the 403 seats.
“Unlike the Congress and BJP, I am not saying this without any basis. The way the people are attending my rallies, I can say that I am going to form the next government. The people of the state want change as they are fed up with the misrule and goonda raj of SP,” she said.
In a similar refrain, Singh, after casting his vote, claimed that the BJP would secure an absolute majority in UP. At Saifai, Akhilesh said, “The voters have made up their minds in favour of the SP-Congress alliance.”
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Polling in this phase began slowly but picked up pace later. There were reports of minor skirmishes between the supporters of the candidates at some polling booths.
SP leader and Akhilesh’s uncle Shivpal Yadav complained that his supporters were attacked by the “political opponents” in his Jaswantnagar constituency.
In the 2012 Assembly polls, the SP had won 55 of these 69 seats, while the BSP, BJP and Congress had secured only six, five and two seats respectively. One seat was won by an Independent. There were 826 candidates in the fray in the third phase whose fate will be decided by 2.41 crore voters, including 1.10 crore women and 1,026 people belonging to the ‘third gender’ category.
Prominent among those whose prestige is at stake are Nitin Agarwal, son of SP leader Naresh Agarwal, BSP turncoat Brijesh Pathak from Lucknow (Central) on BJP ticket and Congress turncoat Rita Bahuguna Joshi from Lucknow Cantt, who is pitted against Mulayam Singh Yadav’s daughter-in-law Aparna.
The next four phases of polling will be held on 23, 27 February and on 4 and 8 March.
Counting of votes will take place on 11 March.
PTI contributed to the story.
Topics: UP assembly elections Uttar Pradesh Samajwadi Party Akhilesh Yadav voters