59 percent balloting in UP

Lucknow: Voters in 11 Lok Sabha constituencies in Uttar Pradesh turned out in large numbers to exercise their franchise Thursday, and 59 percent balloting was recorded till evening, officials said.

The Election Commission said 59 percent balloting was reported till 5.30 p.m.

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Brisk polling was reported from Moradabad, Pilibhit, Nagina and Lakhimpur Kheri, while in other places voting was sluggish.

The turnout in Sambhal, Budayun, Aonla, Bareilly, Shahjahanpur and Rampur — the pocket borough of state Urban Development Minister Azam Khan, was also dull.

Polling officials said there were long queues across the 11 constituencies that went to the polls Thursday, but added that the rise in mercury was a deterrent in some places.

The phase is crucial for the Congress as it holds four seats in the region in the outgoing Lok Sabha.

The BJP has two members, the Samajwadi Party three and Bahujan Samaj Party one. One seat is held by an independent.

No untoward incident was reported, though five villages in Pilibhit boycotted the voting protesting the lack of development.

Over 1.85 crore voters were Thursday eligible to elect their representatives from among 150 candidates. Votes were cast at 18,910 polling centres.

There are 17 woman contestants, including former union minister Maneka Gandhi, in the fray.

The biggest constituency in this phase is Shahjahanpur with 19.78 lakh voters, while the smallest is Nagina with 14.92 lakh electors.

Polling in the state’s 80 Lok Sabha constituencies will be completed in six phases, which included the first phase April 10. The remaining phases are April 24, 30 and May 7 and 12.

The first phase of polling in 10 Lok Sabha constituencies saw a turnout of around 65 percent.