Lucknow, Feb 11: Polling for the second phase of Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections started on a slow note with only 7.4 per cent of the total 1.92 crore electorate exercising their franchise in the first two hours.
“Polling started at 7 AM and in the first two hours, 7.4 per cent polling was registered in 59 seats spread over 9 districts amid tight security arrangements,” Election Commission sources said here.
A maximum of 13 per cent voting was registered in Chillupar Assembly seat while a minimum of 3 per cent was registered at Pharendra in Maharajganj district, they said.
Among the districts, a maximum of 10 per cent polling was registered in Ballia and Deoria districts and a minimum of 4 per cent in Ghazipur.
There were reports of voters boycotting polls at 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, Mr Umesh Sinha, said.
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 of 1,098 candidates are in the fray, including 1,021 men and 76 women.
The second phase would seal the fate of many senior leaders, including speaker, Mr Sukhdeo Rajbhar, Revenue Minister, Mr Phagu Chauhan, state presidents of BSP and BJP, deputy leader of SP, Ms Ambika Chaudhary, 31 MLAs and 24 former ministers.
Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Mr Rajbhar, is in the fray as BSP candidate from newly created Deedarganj seat in Azamgarh district, whereas deputy leader of SP in Assembly, Ms 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, Mr Surya Pratap Shahi, is trying his luck from newly created Pathardeva seat in Deoria district.