51.24 per cent voting was recorded till 5 p.m. in 18 constituencies of eastern Uttar Pradesh that went to the polls in the last leg of the Lok Sabha elections on Monday.

The figure surpassed the 46.55 per cent voting recorded in the 2009 general elections with one hour of polling still left.

The turnout in 17 constituencies in West Bengal was 79.3 per cent, while voting in six constituencies of Bihar was 58 per cent, according to the Election Commission.

The highest turnout was witnessed in Maharajganj where 54.40 per cent voters cast their ballot while in the high profile constituencies of Varanasi and Azamgarh, the percentage of votes was 51.80 and 52.3 respectively.

As many as 328 candidates, including Narendra Modi from Varanasi and Mulayam Singh Yadav from Azamgarh are in the fray in this last leg of polling.

Over three crore voters, including 1.42 crore women are participating in the last phase of the elections to decide the fate of these candidates at 19,881 polling centres spread across 14 districts of eastern UP.

In Kushinagar, where Minister of State for Home RPN Singh is contesting, 52.80 per cent votes have been cast and in Gorakhpur where BJP’s Yogi Adityanath is in the fray, 51.12 per cent votes have been polled.

Domariyaganj recorded 50.60 per cent, Maharajganj 54.40, Deoria 50.40, Bansgaon 48, Lalganj 52.50, Ghosi 50.86, Salempur 48.54, Ballia 50.74, Jaunpur 50.40, Machhlishahr 48.80, Ghazipur 50, Chandauli 55.2, Mirzapur 51.52 and Robertsganj 52.40 per cent votes, data from the Election Commission said.

Poll boycott

In Maharajganj’s Baghapar village, villagers boycotted the election demanding better roads. There are 974 voters in the area. The administration had to deploy PAC to ensure polling as villagers surrounded the polling station and prevented anyone from casting ballot.

In Phooralpur village also polls were boycotted as villagers demanded a railway crossing. Recently, 13 people had died here while crossing the railway track.

There were reports of technical snags in EVMs at some places which were rectified, the election commission said.

In Chandauli there was complaint that laptops used in the polling station bore the pictures of SP leaders, sources said, adding that they have removed.

A report from Maharajganj said that there are reports of snag in polling machines in three polling stations of Nautenwa, Panera and Sadar, while a village in Ballia boycotted polling.

While the maximum number of 42 candidates are in the fray in Varanasi, the minimum of 12 candidates are contesting from Bansgaon.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Samajwadi Party had clinched six seats from the region, BSP five, BJP four and Congress three seats.

Interestingly, the BSP had registered a marginal loss and ended up in the second place with12 seats.