Bogus voting, violence mar Uttar Pradesh civic polls final phase

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Bogus voting, violence mar Uttar Pradesh civic polls final phase
Bogus voting, violence mar Uttar Pradesh civic polls final phase

Lucknow : Reports of bogus voting at several booths and some incidents of violence marred elections for the third and final phase of the Uttar Pradesh civic polls on Wednesday that saw average ballotting.

Voting was held for five municipal corporations, 76 Nagar Palika Parishads and 152 Nagar Panchayats across 26 districts of Uttar Pradesh. Five municipal corporations also voted to elect new mayors. 

Violence was reported from Moradabad where angered by reports of bogus voting people created a ruckus at Thakurdwara polling booth. Three women clad in burqas were detained by police and were found to be involved in bogus voting. They were arrested. 

At many polling booths in Saharanpur, people raised slogans and targeted the officials after their names were found missing from the voters' list. Police had to use mild force to disperse the unruly mob there, an official told IANS. 

Bogus voting was also reported from some places in Baghpat, Saharanpur, Bulandshahr districts of western Uttar Pradesh. 

Polling elsewhere was peaceful, State Election Commission (SEC) officials informed. 

A large number of young men and women turned up to vote for the urban body polls in the third and final phase of the crucial elections, which are being seen as a referendum on the Yogi Adityanath government's performance in the last seven months. It is also a litmus test for Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress.

While victory in some municipal corporations for Congress could act as a morale booster ahead of the Gujarat Assembly polls, wins for the SP at some places could also signal a comeback for the party which was humbled by the BJP in the state Assembly polls earlier this year.

The BSP, which has been at the sidelines of politics in the state ever since it lost power to SP in 2012 and lost two successive elections - 2014 general elections and 2017 state assembly elections, is contesting the urban body polls for the first time on the party symbol. This is being seen as a desperate bid by BSP supremo Mayawati to be relevant in the state, which she ruled four times.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is also making its maiden appearance in the urban polls and is expecting to make some inroads. It has pitched majorly in Lucknow and Kanpur. Vaibhav Maheshwari, state spokesman of the party, told IANS on Wednesday that the results would be good for the AAP.

More than 94 lakh voters are voting in the final phase and 28,135 candidates are in the fray. For smooth voting, an official told IANS that 3,599 polling booths and 10,817 polling centres have been set up. 

The five municipal corporations where polling is taking place include Moradabad, Bareilly, Saharanpur, Jhansi and Firozabad. There are 74 candidates for mayoral posts in these five places, 3,175 candidates for 350 corporation seats. Maximum number of candidates for a mayoral seat are 22 in Bareilly.