Voting peaceful except minor incidents in Farrukhabad, Rae Bareli

The crucial fourth phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections on Sunday recorded a turnout of 57.20 per cent as polling passed off peacefully barring minor incidents in Farrukhabad and Rae Bareli, which were quickly settled by security personnel.

The voting percentage was much higher than 43.84 recorded in 2007. But at the same time 30 lakh new voters exercised their franchise. While 69.45 lakh voters cast their ballot in 2007, in the 2012 polls the figure had gone up to 99.60 lakh.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Umesh Sinha said the 57.20 per cent figure was tentative.

Presiding officer at the Janta Inter College polling station in the Lucknow Cantonment constituency Rajjan Lal Yadav died following heart attack. The CEO told journalists that a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh was paid to the next of the kin of the deceased.

Elections were held in 56 constituencies spread across 11 districts of Banda, Chitrakoot, Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar, Farrukhabad, Fatehpur, Hardoi, Kannauj, Lucknow, Pratapgarh, Rae Bareli and Unnao. Rae Bareli led the way by recording the highest turnout of 59.80 per cent, followed by Kannauj 59.33, Hardoi 59.19 and Farrukhabad 59 per cent.

Pratapgarh district recorded the lowest polling percentage of 52.86 with Kunda in the same district recording lowest turnout of 49 per cent among the constituencies. Independent MLA and former Minister, Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya, is seeking to win a record fifth term from Kunda. On the high side, Shahabad in Hardoi district recorded a turnout of 64 per cent.

In Lucknow, where polling was held in nine constituencies, the percentage was tentatively pegged at 55.89 per cent, which showed a quantum jump from a poor 35.85 per cent recorded in 2007. Rural constituencies in Lucknow district — Bakshi ka Talab (62%), Sarojininagar (60), Mohanlalganj (61) and Malihabad (58%) recorded a higher polling percentage than the five urban constituencies of Lucknow West (51%), Lucknow North (54), Lucknow East (52), Lucknow Central (53) and Lucknow Cantonment (52%).

Boycott

Reports said voters of Idrauli village at Rahmankheda in Malihabad boycotted the polls alleging failure of the Forest Department and the authorities to nail a tiger that had strayed into the human habitat from the Dudhwa National Park in Kheri district. Mr. Sinha said security was tightened in Malihabad.

Slow polling

About the Farrukhabad incident, the CEO said it was reported that some persons had opened fire in the air but the dispute was settled. In Rae Bareli, where some persons objected to the slow polling process, the issue was settled by the sub-divisional magistrate and the police authorities.

Mr. Sinha said 38 complaints received by them mostly related to voter slips, missing names and slow polling.

Gargi Parsai writes from New Delhi:

The fourth phase of Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday was “peaceful and incident-free,” according to the Election Commission.

Polling was slow to start but picked up in the afternoon. Voters at the Patna polling booth in Banda district, however, boycotted the elections for lack of development in their area.

Sunday's polling percentage matched the huge turnouts in the first (58.81 per cent), second (58.23 per cent) and the third (57.25 per cent) phase of polling in the politically sensitive state.

Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutsi told journalists that the increase in the voting percentage was “phenomenal” in some districts. Voting was above 51 per cent in all districts. The Election Commission had deployed a huge posse of civil and uniformed force to conduct the elections. As many as 944 video cameras and 2700 digital cameras were used to scrutinise the polling booths. About 270 polling stations were web-cast.

Total cash — ostensibly meant for distribution to influence votes — seized so far in the State is over Rs. 15 crore.

Counting will be on March 6, after the voting in three remaining phases scheduled on February 23, 28 and March 3.