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Lok Sabha election : UP records 58.14 pc polling in first phase

Lok Sabha election : UP records 58.14 pc  polling in first phase

Lucknow, April 19 (UNI) An estimated 58.14 percent of the total 1.44 crore electorate exercised their franchise across eight parliamentary constituencies in the first phase of Lok Sabha election in Uttar Pradesh amidst tight security arrangements on Friday.
Chief Electoral Officer of UP Navdeep Rinwa said that a maximum 63.29 per cent votes were polled on Saharanpur seat, whereas Rampur witnessed the lowest turnout of 52.42 per cent.
He said that among other constituencies 54.68 per cent polling was recorded in Bijnor, 60.6 per cent in Kairana, 59.32 per cent in Moradabad, 54.91 per cent in Muzaffarnagar, 59.17 per cent in Nagina and 60.23 per cent in Pilibhit.
It may be noted that these eight parliamentary constituencies were spread over nine districts, including Saharanpur, Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Bijnor, Moradabad, Rampur, Pilibhit and Bareilly.
The CEO said polling continued peacefully, and barring minor glitches, no untoward incident was reported. "There was a report of scuffle at one booth which was immediately resolved by the security personnel," he said.
Rinwa said that to maintain a constant vigil on poll process, arrangement of webcasting was done at 7,500 places. "During polling, complaints received from the political parties and candidates which were immediately resolved. The complaints were largely of three types, first regarding electronic voting machines, secondly voters being prevented from casting their votes and lastly that people were being allowed to vote without checking their documents," he said.
The CEO said that the polling, which began at 7 am, continued till 6 pm. "There were reports of boycotts of the poll process from some places, but the situation was resolved by the officers," he said.
Rinwa said that polling was held at 14,845 polling booths spread over 7,693 polling centres, of which 3,571 were critical. "To maintain a vigil on the polling, eight general observers, five police observers, and 10 expenditure observers were deployed. Besides, 1,272 sector magistrates, 150 zonal magistrates, 103 static magistrates, and 1,861 micro observers were also deployed," he said.
In order to ensure peaceful polling 6,018 Inspectors and Sub Inspectors, 35,750 head constables and constables, 24,992 Home Guards, 60 companies of PAC and 220 companies of CAPF were deployed on poll duty. As a force multiplier, 6,764 village chowkidars and 155 PRD jawans were also deployed.
To monitor movement of suspicious people, 248 barriers were set up in the nine districts that went to poll in the first phase. 11 barriers were set up in Pilibhit, which is an international border-affected area and 88 barriers were set up in the remaining districts.
Continuous monitoring and vigilance was maintained on international and interstate borders by installing additional CCTV cameras.
It may be noted that the first phase of Lok Sabha polls in UP is crucial for all the political parties, including the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the INDI alliance, comprising Samajwadi Party (SP) and Congress, and the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
In the Saharanpur seat, Congress candidate Imran Masood is locked in a battle with BJP nominee Raghav Lakhanpal. BSP, which has denied tickets to its sitting MP, Haji Fazlur Rehman, is heavily banking on Majid Ali.
Similarly, in the Kairana seat, sitting BJP MP Pradeep Chaudhary is being challenged by Iqra Hasan of the SP and Shripal Rana of the BSP. Iqra, who is making her debut in electoral politics, is the sister of three-time MLA Nahid Hasan and the daughter of two-time MP Tabassum Hasan.
In Pilibhit, where the BJP has denied tickets to sitting MP Varun Gandhi, the party has fielded PWD Minister in the Yogi Adityanath government and former Union Minister Jitin Prasada. Here, the SP has fielded its old loyalist and former minister, Bhagwat Saran Gangwar. The BSP has fielded Anis Ahmad Khan in this seat.
In the Muzaffarnagar seat, SP has nominated senior leader Harendra Malik against two-time BJP MP and Union Minister Sanjeev Kumar Balyan. In Bijnor seat National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) MLA Chandhan Chauhan is locked in a contest with Deepak Saini of SP and Chaudhary Vijendra Singh of BSP.
An interesting contest is being witnessed in Nagina seat, where the chief of the Azad Samaj Party (Kanshi Ram), Chandra Shekhar Azad, is posing a serious challenge to the BJP's Om Kumar, the SP's Manoj Kumar, and Surendra Pal Singh of the BSP. The 2019 candidate of Mahagatbandhan, comprising SP, BSP, and RLD, Girish Chandra, emerged victorious from this seat, but this time he was denied a ticket by the BSP.
In the Moradabad seat, SP candidate Ruchi Veera is challenging Sravesh Kumar Singh of the BJP. But going seems to be difficult for the SP candidate after sitting MP HT Hasan distanced himself from the campaigning after being denied a ticket by the party.
Rampur is witnessing its first general election in the absence of senior SP leader Mohammad Azam Khan. In the 2022 by-election for the Rampur seat, the BJP breached the bastion of the SP, probably for the first time after several years when BJP candidate and sitting MP Ghanshyam Singh Lodhi defeated the SP's Mohammad Asim Rama, considered to be close to Azam Khan.
This time SP has fielded Mohibullah Nadvi, which has led to confusion among the supporters and well-wishers of Azam Khan. Here, BSP has given a ticket to a newcomer, Zeeshan Khan, who has been associated with the party for more than a decade.
It may be mentioned that almost all the parties, especially the BJP, which aims to win all the 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP, had campaigned extensively in the first phase. Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a rally in Saharanpur.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had toured almost all the election-bound districts twice or three times, seeking support in favour of the BJP candidates. Besides, a battery of ministers in the BJP government, including Deputy Chief Ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya, Brajesh Pathak, and state president Bhupendra Singh, also campaigned extensively in the first phase of the polls in UP.
Though SP chief Akhilesh Yadav started campaigning a bit late for the party candidates, he held rallies in Nagina (Bijnor) and Moradabad. Prior to this, he also held a rally in Pilibhit. Congress has been the only exception, and none of the senior leaders held a single rally in the first phase of UP.
Only national general secretary Priyanka Gandhi held a roadshow in Saharanpur seeking support in favour of party candidate Imran Masood on the last day of campaigning on Wednesday.

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