Over 50% turnout in first phase of UP polls

Lucknow, (IANS) : Over 50 per cent turnout was witnessed till late afternoon in the first phase of the staggered Uttar Pradesh assembly elections spanning 73 constituencies in the western part of the state, officials said.

Polling was more or less peaceful across the 15 districts with some sporadic incidents of violence reported at some places, while at quite a few places, voting was delayed due to malfunctioning EVMs.

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While an Election Commission official in New Delhi told IANS that 53 percent voting has been recorded till 3 p.m., a poll official in Lucknow put the turnout at 52 per cent till this time.

The highest turnout was seen in Aligarh (55.85 per cent), Mathura (55.42 per cent), Etah (55.01 per cent) and Meerut (55 per cent), followed by Bulandshahr (54.51 per cent), Baghpat and Muzaffarnagar (both 54 percent). All had overtaken Taj city Agra which had initially led the turnout figures in the first few hours after polling began at 7 p.m. but only registered 51.74 per cent by 3 p.m.

Hathras recorded 50 per cent, Shamli 53 and Kasganj 51.17 per cent, while Noida and Ghaziabad adjoining the national capital recorded 49 per cent and 50.42 per cent respectively.

The least turnout was witnessed in Firozabad – 40.80 per cent by 3 p.m.

At many places, polling was disrupted or delayed due to technical snags in EVMs, said an official, adding that by and large voting was smooth and steady at most places.

Sporadic incidents of poll violence were reported from some places. Clashes between activists of the ruling Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party were reported from two places.

The largest constituency in this phase, as per population, is Sahibabad in Ghaziabad and the smallest is Jalesar in Etah.

There are 26,822 polling centres for over two crore voters in this phase of polling, for which 839 candidates, including Pankaj Singh, the son of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, were in the fray.