Report of presiding officer being thrashed in Pratapgarh denied

Even as polling in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh passed off peacefully , the turnout followed the trend of high voting percentage.

Though not at par with the polling percentage recorded in the first four phases of the elections in the State, yet the 55.56 per cent turnout in the fifth phase on Wednesday was more than 12 percentage points recorded in 2009.In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the voter turnout in the 15 constituencies was 43.37 per cent. However, Wednesday’s polling percentage was below the 57.33 per cent turnout recorded in the 2012 Assembly elections.

Amethi, which hogged the limelight even on the polling day following a tiff between Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Smriti Irani and Priyanka Gandhi’s personal secretary Preeti Sahay, and AAP candidate Kumar Vishwas’s allegation of booth capturing by the Congress, recorded a polling of 55.20 per cent. In 2009, Amethi had recorded a turnout of 43 per cent, but this time the Congress vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, faces a stiff challenge by Ms. Irani and Mr. Vishwas. Unlike in the last two Lok Sabha polls in 2004 and 2009 when Mr. Gandhi was not present in Amethi on the election day, he made it a point to stay in the constituency on Wednesday and also visited the polling booths. Mr. Gandhi also filed a complaint with the Election Commission on a lotus (symbol of the BJP) being drawn on the black board of a class room which had functioned as a polling booth. In the neighbouring Sultanpur where Varun Gandhi of the BJP was pitted against Pawan Pandey of the Bahujan Samaj Party and Amita Singh of the Congress, the voting percentage was 57.20 per cent whereas in Allahabad where Kunwar Reoti Raman Singh of the Samajwadi Party is seeking re-election, the voter turnout was 55.80 per cent: in 2009 it was 42.80 per cent. Phulpur, which was once associated with former Prime Minister JawaharlalNehru, recorded a healthy turnout of 54.06 per cent.

Moving on to Faizabad, the turnout of 57.60 was up by 10 per cent from 47 per cent recorded in 2009. Meanwhile, reports of a presiding officer being thrashed in Pratapgarh was officially denied .