An estimated 57.36 per cent of 1.81 crore electorate on Monday cast their votes amid tight security during the fifth phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh with Amethi and Faizabad assembly seats remaining the centre of attention.
The day-long poll process remained largely peaceful in 51 Assembly constituencies spread over 11 districts of the state.
“57.36 per cent polling was recorded till 5 PM and the figure is likely to go up as several voters waited in queues to exercise their franchise,” UP Chief Electoral Officer T Venkatesh said.
The first four phases of UP polls this time saw voter turnouts of 64 per cent, 65 per cent, 61.16 per cent and 61 per cent respectively.
Though the exercise remained slow during the the first two hours in morning, it picked up pace gradually with the first-time voters seen exercising their franchise quite enthusiastically.
Prominent contestants in the phase included controversial minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati from the ruling Samajwadi Party, who is facing Amita Singh from Congress and BJP’s Garima Singh in Amethi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Rahul Gandhi.
Prajapati, against whom an FIR has been lodged in an alleged rape case, said the people were with him and there was a strong wave in the favour of SP. “Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will become the CM again,” he claimed.
Amita, wife of Congress leader Sanjay Singh, hoped people would support the best candidate “and I will definitely win.”
Garima, the first wife of Sanjay, on the other hand said there was no development in the constituency and people were facing problems.
The districts that went to polls in the Vth phase are Balrampur, Gonda, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Bahraich, Shravasti, Basti, Siddharth Nagar, Sant Kabir Nagar, Amethi and Sultanpur.
Faizabad is another hot seat with BJP’s Ram Temple issue once again figuring in its election manifesto this time.
Ayodhya Assembly seat, which falls in Faizabad district, used to be a traditional stronghold of BJP since the Ram Temple movement days. But it was snatched by SP in 2012. This time the saffron party is trying to wrest it back.
The turnout in these constituencies in 2012 was 57.09 per Cent.
The Governor said to prevent crop residue burning and for its better management, the government has proposed an action plan of Rs 303.15 crore for getting straw management equipment, training and demonstrations during 2017-18.
Indian Oil Corporation is in the process of setting up an ethanol-based power plant in Panipat, he said.
Sugarfed is planning to expand the Panipat Sugar Mills along with co-generation and ethanol plant in Dahar village, installation of 60 kilolitres per day ethanol plant at Shahabad Sugar Mill, and expansion and modernisation of Karnal Sugar Mill, Solanki said.
Under its ‘Horticulture Vision’, the state aims to double the area under horticulture and triple production by 2030, he said, adding it has been planned to increase total cultivated area under from 7.5 per cent to 15 per cent.
The Governor said the total annual milk production for the year 2015-16 had reached 83.81 lakh tonnes, taking the per capita per day availability of milk to 835 grams, the second highest in the country.
Under the Risk Management and Livestock Insurance, launched during the year, large farm animals and small ruminants would be insured for a period of three years, he said.
Solanki said the state ranks second in the country in fish productivity per hectare and has been declared a ‘Fish Disease Free State’.
There are about 16,000 hectares of water bodies under intensive fish farming and the state produces about 1.50 lakh metric tonnes of fish per annum, he said, adding the government plans to increase production from 7,200 to 8,200 kilograms per hectare.
Haryana Government is actively working to further empower the Panchayati Raj Institutions through capacity building and devolving functions and funds, he said, adding villages in 14 districts would be Open Defecation Free by end of this month.The government is offering 34 e-Services to the citizens relating to various kinds of certificates, copies of land records, e-stamps and permissions, he said.
Solanki said the Haryana Government has aligned its vision Digital India Programme and all Gram Panchayats are being connected through optical fiber under Bharat Net.Till date, the cable has been laid in 4,051 Gram Panchayats and Wi-Fi equipment has been installed at 119 Gram Panchayats/Schools, he said, adding there is a plan to establish Wi-Fi in 350 villages during 2017-18.
The Governor said under the skill up-gradation programme a Startup Warehouse has been set up in Gurugram and plans are to set up Mobile Application Development Centre, Startup Incubators in seven universities.