With the third phase of Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday keeping pace with the record turn out in the first two phases by recording a polling percentage of 60.12 per cent, the fate of almost the entire Yadav family, as well as some other leading luminaries, was sealed in the electronic voting machines (EVMs). Voting in the third phase was held in 12 parliamentary constituencies spread across in what is popularly known as the “Yadav belt” and “Braj bhumi” of Uttar Pradesh.
The record turnout of 60.12 per cent in the 12 seats in 2014 was up by almost 14 percentage points from the 46.63 per cent recorded in 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
Barring some incidents of clashes between rival supporters and attempts at booth capturing in Mathura, Agra, Firozabad, Hathras, Farrukhabad and Etah polling by and large remained peaceful.
According to the Chief Electoral Officer of the State, Umesh Sinha, Firozabad recorded the highest turnout of 66 per cent followed by 63.80 per cent in Mathura, 63.48 per cent in Kannauj and 61. 27 pc in Fatehpur Sikri. The polling percentage in the other constituencies was Mainpuri – 60.80 pc, Agra- 59.80 pc, Etah- 59.80 pc, Farrukhabad – 59.60 pc, Hathras ( reserved ) – 57.20 pc, Hardoi ( reserved )- 56.90 pc, Akbarpur – 56.54 pc and Etawah (reserved ) – 56.30 pc.
Etawah, the political burrough of the Samajwadi Party president, Mulayam Singh, recorded the lowest turnout even as it was 11 per cent more than the turnout in 2009. Needless to say, the biggest stake in the third phase of the Lok Sabha elections was that of the Yadav family with the Samajwadi Party president himself contesting from Mainpuri, his daughter-in-law, Dimple Yadav in the fray from Kannauj and Mr. Singh’s nephew, Akshay Yadav from Firozabad. He is the son of SP national general secretary, Ram Gopal Yadav. Mr. Singh is seeking re-election from Mainpuri for a record fourth time with the seat considered as a Yadav stronghold. On Thursday, Mainpuri set a new high by recording 60.80 pc polling, which clearly eclipsed the 49.67 pc recorded here in 2009. The SP president has been challenged by Sanghmitra Maurya of the Bahujan Samaj Party and daughter of Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly, Swami Prasad Maurya.
Ms. Dimple Yadav was elected unopposed in the bye-election from Kannauj in 2012 after the seat was vacated by her husband, Akhilesh Yadav upon him becoming the Chief Minister. This time round, Ms. Yadav had to campaign in Kannauj by staging road shows in the constituency to ward off threats from her opponents.
Mr. Akshay Yadav is a first timer contesting from Firozabad. The seat was won by his cousin, Akhilesh Yadav in 2009 before it was wrested by Raj Babbar of the Congress in the subsequent bypoll.
While, Union Minister, Salman Khurshid is trying his luck from Farrukhabad, Bharatiya Janata Party vice president, Kalyan Singh’s son, Rajveer Singh is in the fray from the Lodh OBC dominated Etah constituency which was won by his father in 2009. Mr. Kalyan Singh, who then was an ally of Mr. Mulayam Singh had contested as an Independent candidate.
Yet another of Mr. Mulayam Singh’s old friend, Amar Singh is in the fray from Fatehpur Sikri as a Rashtriya Lok Dal candidate. Mathura, which recorded a voter turnout of 63.80 pc as compared to 54.14 pc in 2009, appears to have witnessed a keen contest between cine star, Hema Malini and the sitting MP, Jayant Chaudhary of RLD. Reports from Mathura said that six persons were injured in a clash between BJP and RLD supporters near the Ratanpur Inter College polling booth in Daulatpur village. Polling was disrupted for about 45 minutes.
Samajwadi Party and BJP workers reportedly clashed in Agra and in Bisnipur polling booth in Jalesar in Firozabad parliamentary constituency, Home Guards personnel on polling duty were reportedly thrashed by supporters of a political party.