Lucknow, Feb 11: After a slow start, polling picked up in the second phase of Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls with 34 per cent of the total 1.92 crore electorate casting their vote in the first six hours of voting.
"Polling started at 7 AM and till 1 PM, 34 per cent per cent polling was registered in 59 seats spread over 9 districts amid tight security arrangements," Election Commission sources said here.
Maximum 40 per cent voting was registered in Deoria district while a minimum of 28.3 per cent was registered at Sant Kabir Nagar, they said. Among districts, 34 per cent polling was registered in Ballia, 33.3 per cent in Azagarh, 31 per cent in Ghazipur, 38 per cent in Kushinagar, 36 per cent in Maharajganj, 33.55 per cent in Gorakhpur, 34 per cent in Mau and 39.31 in Deoria.
In Dakshin Tola area in Mau district, police used force when a large number of people gathered outside a polling station indulged in unruly behaviour. Unconfirmed reports said six persons were injured in the firing.
Police also used force in Mahaveer Akhara hamlet in Rasra area in Ballia district after some local residents indulged in slogan shouting. There were reports of voters boycotting polls at a number of places including Bheeta in Ballia district and Hathiya in Azamgarh districts, besides minor complaints related to problems with electronic voting machines (EVM).
The voters will seal the fate of 1,098 candidates in the polling which is being held in Sant Kabir Nagar, Maharajganj, Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Deoria, Azamgarh, Mau, Ballia and Ghazipur, Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha said.
The second phase would seal the fate of many senior leaders, including speaker Sukhdeo Rajbhar, Revenue Minister Phagu Chauhan, state presidents of BSP and BJP, deputy leader of SP Ambika Chaudhary, 31 MLAs and 24 former ministers. Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rajbhar is in fray as BSP candidate from newly-created Deedarganj seat in Azamgarh district, whereas deputy leader of SP in Assembly Ambika Chaudhary is seeking re-run from Phephna in Ballia.
Prestige of state presidents of BSP and BJP is also at the stake in this phase. While BSP state president and cabinet minister Swami Prasad Maurya is contesting from Padrauna seat in Kushinagar, BJP state president Surya Pratap Shahi is trying his luck from newly-created Pathardeva seat in Deoria district.
Stakes are high for ruling BSP, Congress, SP and the BJP in the no-holds-barred fight for the 403 Assembly seats in the seven-phase polls. The voters will exercise their franchise at 20,425 polling booths at 12,995 polling centres.
While 3,265 polling booths have been identified as sensitive and 9,971 as hyper sensitive for which adequate force has been deployed, he said. A total 1098 candidates are in the fray, including 1,021 men and 76 women.