Lucknow: Around 60.68 per cent out of 2.13 crore electorate exercised their franchise for 59 seats, spread over nine districts of Uttar Pradesh, in the fourth phase of Assembly elections in the state on Wednesday.
The figure showed a dip of 2.06 per cent as compared to 2017, when the total voter turnout was 62.55 per cent. With this, the electoral fate of 624 candidates, including 91 women, has been sealed in the EVMs. As per the data provided by the Election Commission, Pilibhit district recorded maximum voter turnout of 67.16 per cent, whereas Lucknow saw minimum turnout of 56.88 per cent.
Among other districts, 57.74 per cent votes were polled in Banda, 60.07 per cent in Fatehpur, 58.99 per cent in Hardoi, 65.54 per cent in Lakhimpur Kheri, 61.90 per cent in Rae Bareli, 62.66 per cent in Sitapur and 57.73 per cent in Unnao.
Chief Electoral Officer Ajay Kumar Shukla said that polling for the fourth phase passed off peacefully and no untoward incident was reported from anywhere. He said total 503 cases of violation of the Model Code of Conduct were registered and legal action was being taken in them. “Besides 362 complaints were received by the public on c-Vigil App of which 71 were found to be true and action was taken on them,” he said.
Protesting against stray animals, people boycotted the polling in Dashrath Purwa village in Naraini constituency, however, it resumed after seven hours on the assurance of the senior officials. Reports said that a poll staff suffered a heart attack in Dhaurahra Assembly constituency of Lakhimpur Kheri district and was admitted to the district hospital.
Prominent leaders who exercised their franchise included Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Dinesh Sharma, Union Minister Kaushal Kishore, Uttar Pradesh Ministers Brijesh Pathak, Ashutosh Tandon and Mahendra Singh. Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra, whose son is an accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, cast his vote at a polling booth in his constituency – Lakhimpur, amid heavy police security. Mishra arrived at the polling booth surrounded by a large number of security personnel.
The videos which went viral, showed the Minister surrounded by a dozen police personnel, cordoning off the media, who were asking questions regarding his son Ashish. Among the Ministers in the Yogi government, Law Minister Brajesh Pathak is contesting from Lucknow Cantt and Urban Development Minister Ashutosh Tandon ‘Gopalji’ from Lucknow East. This time, Pathak has changed his seat and shifted to Cantt, which is considered a BJP stronghold.
Two more Ministers are also in the fray in this phase. While Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ranvendra Pratap Singh alias Dhunni Singh was trying his luck from Hussainganj seat in Fatehpur district, Minister of State and Apna Dal (S) candidate Jai Kumar Singh alias Jaiki was contesting from Bindki in the same district.
Former Joint Director of Enforcement Rajeshwar Singh, who had taken VRS and is contesting from the Sarojini Nagar seat on BJP ticket, is being challenged by SP candidate and former minister Abhishek Mishra. Besides, SP fielded former MP Sushila Saroj from Malihabad seat in Lucknow district. Among other prominent candidates, Congress’ rebel MLA Aditi Singh is contesting from Rae Bareli Sadar seat on BJP ticket.
Similarly, another rebel MLA of Congress Rakesh Singh is contesting from Harchandpur seat in Rae Bareli, also on BJP ticket. Deputy Speaker of UP Vidhan Sabha, Nitin Agarwal, who switched to BJP from SP before the polls were announced, is contesting from Hardoi. In 2017, out of 59 seats in this phase, BJP won 50, SP four, BSP and Congress two each and Apna Dal one.