Polling records continued to tumble in the ongoing long-drawn, seven-phase Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. In the penultimate round on Tuesday, the voter turnout was 60.1 per cent, up from 46.81 in 2007. Polling was held in 68 constituencies, spread across 13 districts of western Uttar Pradesh.
While the battle in the Jat land is a test case for the Congress-Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance, the stakes are high also for Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati, who recorded the maximum gains in terms of seats in western U.P. in 2007 which enabled to her to capture power. The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Samajwadi Party are determined to improve their 2007 tally.
Saharanpur district recorded the maximum of 64.86 per cent voting followed by Mathura (63.8) and Bulandshahr (61.07). The other districts which breached the 60 per cent mark are Meerut (60.86), Aligarh (60.80), the newly-formed Panchsheel Nagar (60.67) and Mahamaya Nagar (Hathras) 60.05. The percentage in other districts: Prabudh Nagar (59.33), Muzaffarnagar (59.17), Agra (58.82), Ghaziabad (58), Baghpat (55.67) and Gautam Buddha Nagar (Noida) 55.6. The Saharanpur constituency recorded the highest turnout of 69 per cent and Noida the lowest of 50 per cent.
Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha told journalists that these figures were tentative. In the 2007 polls, 89.48 lakh people exercised their franchise in the constituencies where elections were held on Tuesday. “In the 2012 edition the number of voters casting their ballot jumped to about 1.29 crore, a substantial increase of about 40 lakh voters, or about 45 per cent more than that last time.”
Pointing out that the poll process had been completed in 343 constituencies in 65 districts, the CEO said the average voting percentage so far was 58.47, the highest turnout recorded in Uttar Pradesh. He said 26 districts had recorded a percentage of 60 or more. “In 2007, only Lalitpur district recorded 60 per cent.”
In fact, the average polling percentage in the six phases this year exceeded the highest till now — 57.13 recorded in the 1993 Assembly elections. It was also more than the highest turnout in the Lok Sabha elections in the State — 56.44 per cent in 1977.
Mr. Sinha said voters attached to a booth in the Behat constituency in Saharanpur district boycotted the poll citing lack of development in villages. In Modinagar constituency in Ghaziabad, repoll would be ordered in booth 67 as clearance was not taken for the EVM after a mock poll.
The final phase of elections involving 60 seats in 10 districts will be held on March 3.