LS polls: Over 47.44 pc turnout recorded in 8 LS seats of UP till 3 pm

An average voter turnout of 47.44 per cent was recorded in the first eight hours of polling on Friday in eight western Uttar Pradesh constituencies where voting is underway in the first phase of the Lok Sabha election.
LS polls: Over 47.44 pc turnout recorded in 8 LS seats of UP till 3 pm
LS polls: Over 47.44 pc turnout recorded in 8 LS seats of UP till 3 pm

Lucknow/Pilibhit | An average voter turnout of 47.44 per cent was recorded in the first eight hours of polling on Friday in eight western Uttar Pradesh constituencies where voting is underway in the first phase of the Lok Sabha election.

The polling began at 7 am.

According to the Election Commission (EC), till 3 pm, 53.31 per cent voting was reported in Saharanpur, 46.28 per cent in Moradabad, 48.92 per cent in Kairana, 48.15 per cent in Nagina, 49.06 per cent in Pilibhit, 47.70 per cent in Bijnor, 42.77 per cent in Rampur and 45.18 per cent in Muzaffarnagar.

These seats fall in the Jat and sugarcane belt of the state. The voting percentage after seven phases of Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh in 2019 was 59.11.

According to election officials, the poll exercise is underway without any major glitches or law-and-order issues.

People in some areas of Pilibhit district announced a poll boycott as a protest against the lack of civic amenities. The residents of Purana village, located in the Barkheda Police station limits, said they will not vote in protest against the absence of a bridge in the area.

People in Dahgala, Bakshpur and nearby villages boycotted polling as the road leading to the villages through the officers' colony has allegedly been blocked.

In the Neuria area of the district, some villagers said they would not vote as they are aggrieved over the issue of man-animal conflict. They alleged that tigers from the adjoining Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) venture out of the forest and kill villagers but nothing has been done by the administration to prevent such incidents.

Pilibhit District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar Singh said, "We have received information that some villagers are boycotting the polls over local issues. The officials concerned have been directed to visit these villages to talk to them and ensure that they participate in the voting process." Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate Harendra Singh Malik alleged booth capturing in a village in Muzaffarnagar district, urging the EC for the deployment of paramilitary personnel.

The former Rajya Sabha MP shared a letter on social media that he addressed to the chief election commissioner in Delhi for sending paramilitary personnel to Kutba Kutbi, the village of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Sanjeev Balyan, alleging "booth capturing" by "agents" of the saffron party.

"Sir, I am the Samajwadi Party candidate from the (03) Muzaffarnagar Lok Sabha constituency. In Kutba Kutbi village of BJP candidate Sanjeev Balyan, booth capturing is being done by BJP agents and voters are being beaten up and sent away without casting their votes," Malik wrote in Hindi.

However, District Election Officer Aravind Mallappa Bangari denied the allegation and said he, along with the district police chief, is on his way to the village to review the situation.

Farm leader and National President of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) Naresh Tikait hit out at the BJP over its claim of winning more than 400 seats in the Lok Sabha elections and said, "People are not very excited about the polls." "If they are saying 400, then what is the need for them to contest elections? It is special that they can perceive this in advance. Do they have any astrologer who has predicted that this is going to happen?" Tikait posed while speaking to "PTI Video." In most polling stations, people were seen queuing up to cast their vote in the morning. A bride was seen reaching the polling station in her wedding dress. As the day progressed, the queues thinned out a bit but people were seen reaching polling centres wearing scarfs and holding umbrellas to beat the heat.

Senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi cast his vote in Rampur and said, "We have to take forward the journey of PM Narendra Modi in taking the country towards development." A total of 80 candidates -- 73 men and seven women -- are in the fray in the first phase. The prominent candidates in this phase of polling include the BJP's Jitin Prasada from Pilibhit, Union Minister Balyan from Muzaffarnagar and Azad Samaj Party chief Chandra Shekhar Azad from Nagina.

The ruling BJP has joined hands with the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), while the SP has allied with the Congress in this election. The Bahujan Samaj Party has decided to go solo.

According to the Election Commission, 1.43 crore people are eligible to cast their votes in this phase. Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer Navdeep Rinwa said voting is underway at 14,849 polling booths.

To ensure fool-proof security, 6,018 inspectors and sub-inspectors, 35,750 constables and 24,992 home guard personnel, along with 60 companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary and 220 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces, have been deployed.

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