Rajnath says high turnout indicates people's anger at BSP regime

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Sunday said her Bahujan Samaj Party would win more seats now than in 2007, pointing to the response to her rallies.

In 2007, the party bagged 206 seats.

Ms. Mayawati was speaking to journalists after voting at the Lucknow Montessori Intermediate College in the fourth phase of the Assembly elections.

Ms. Mayawati reached the polling station at noon and cast her vote at booth number 235. She was accompanied by party general secretary and Rajya Sabha member Satish Chandra Mishra and Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh. Mr. Mishra and the Cabinet Secretary also voted at the same centre, though at different booths.

Ms. Mayawati then left for rallies at Hamirpur and Firozabad, where voting will take place on February 23 in the fifth phase.

Prior to Ms. Mayawati's arrival, Governor B.L. Joshi voted at the college around 8.45 a.m.

Surprisingly, the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Uma Bharti, who is the BJP candidate for Charkhari in Mahoba district — where polling will be held on February 23 — voted at the Navyug Kanya Intermediate College in Rajendra Nagar here. That she had enrolled herself as a voter in the Lucknow Central Assembly constituency was kept a secret by the BJP.

Incidentally, Kalraj Mishra, BJP's ‘Brahmin face,' is contesting from Lucknow East.

Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Pradesh Congress Committee president and party candidate for Lucknow Cantonment, exercised her franchise at Montessori College shortly after voting began at 7 a.m.

The former Chief Minister and BJP leader, Rajnath Singh, voted at the PWD polling centre and Mr. Kalraj Mishra cast the ballot at the Lucknow Nagar Nigam School.

As for the high turnout in the elections, Mr. Singh said this highlighted the people's anger at the Mayawati regime.

Ms. Bharti was to have voted around 8.45 a.m., but her arrival was delayed because the helicopter could not take off on time at Charkhari. She reached Navyug College at 11 a.m. and voted for the first time in Uttar Pradesh.