In final phase of Assembly elections, Over 60% voting in UP, Manipur records 86%
New Delhi/Lucknow/Imphal : Over sixty per cent polling was reported across seven districts of Uttar Pradesh for 40 assembly seats in the final phase of state assembly elections, while 86 per cent votes were cast in the second and final phase of the Manipur Assembly polls on Wednesday.
The seventh phase saw 60.03 per cent balloting, bringing to an end the long-drawn polling process for the 17th Vidhan Sabha.
Heavy balloting was logged in the last phase in all the 40 seats spread across seven districts in the Poorvanchal region, with the Maoist infested areas also doing exceedingly well in terms of participation in the electoral process. Varanasi, the political constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saw 63 per cent polling while neighbouring Mirzapur recorded 62.6 per cent.
While 61.35 per cent voting was registered in Jaunpur, 63.78 per cent was reported in Chandauli and 62.5 per cent in Sonebhadra, which is part of the Maoist belt. Due to security reasons, polling was held here between 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. unlike other places where voting was underway till 5 p.m. and people in the queue were also allowed to cast their votes.
Bhadohi, known for its high carpet exports, logged a poor 57.9 and so did Ghazipur where only 59 per cent votes were cast. The Prime Minister during his roadshows in Varanasi had appealed to the people of Poorvanchal to turn up in large numbers and vote for 'parivartan' (change). Buoyed by the high turnout, state BJP leaders said it was a signal that the people had dismissed the incumbent Samajwadi Party and were yearning for change and that they had voted for good governance promised by the BJP.
"The polling in Uttar Pradesh passed of peacefully without any untoward incident," Deputy Election Commissioner Vijay Dev told media in New Delhi.
Out of total number of 535 candidates, 51 were women candidates, he said. The electorate comprises 76.87 lakh men, 64.99 lakh women and 706 voters of the third gender.
As many as 8,682 polling stations with 14,458 polling booths were set up, a poll official said. Forty candidates of the BSP and 32 of the BJP were in the fray for the last phase of the elections in Uttar Pradesh, Dev informed.
In Uttar Pradesh Rs 21.63 crore in cash, 1.40 lakh litre of liquor worth Rs 2.79 crore and gold and silver worth Rs 2.14 crore were seized, Dev said, adding that in total Rs 122.26 crore have been seized from various parts of Uttar Pradesh during electioneering.
The Deputy Election Commissioner said that elaborate security arrangements were made to ensure free and fair electrons in Uttar Pradesh and Manipur.
Some snags in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were reported from some places while polling agents of the BJP in some seats in Varanasi accused the polling officers of deliberately delaying the voting, to benefit the ruling Samajwadi Party.
In the second and the last phase of elections, Manipur had 837 hyper sensitive and 529 sensitive assembly constituencies whereas Uttar Pradesh had 12 sensitive assembly seats.
Sudeep Jain, Director General of the Election Commission said that in Manipur it was a "difficult phase" as poll officials had to travel long distances on foot in difficult areas and their teams had to be dispatched in two-three days in advance to the polling stations.
Eighty six per cent of total 19,02,562 electorate cast their vote in Manipur, Jain said, adding that no boycott call was given by any group for the polling. Jain said that since 2009, 86 per cent voting in this phase of elections in Manipur, was the highest.
Polling was generally peaceful notwithstanding a few stray incidents in the 22 constituencies spread over six districts - Thoubal, Ukhrul, Chandel, Tamenglong, Kamjomg and Senapati, officials said.
Even before voting centres opened at 7 a.m., people assembled before booths, and patiently stood for their turn - despite long queues at many places.
Two tribal militants entered the Mantri Pantha polling station in Chandel district and damaged EVMs. They were overpowered by women voters and handed over to the authority. The K. Thel polling station in the same district was vandalised by some miscreants.
There were clashes between the Communist Party of India and the Congress workers in Wangjing Tentha in Thoubal district. Police had to resort to firing in the air to bring the situation under control.
In Ukhrul district, polling was stalled for some time in a booth following protest by a few voters. However polling officials managed to restore peace.
Polling in some polling stations in Tamenglong district started several hours behind schedule as the EVMs developed technical defects.
Security had been beefed up after the twin bomb blasts on Tuesday, that killed a polling official and injured two Assam Rifles troopers near the India-Myanmar border in Kamjong district. No untoward incident has been reported from the district so far. Polling was also held peacefully at the border town of Moreh, officials said.