Voting ended for the second phase of politically-crucial Uttar Pradesh assembly elections 2017 on Wednesday.
In this phase, SP will fight to save its majority, while a close second BSP maintains a steady threat. With an astounding performance by BJP in Lok Sabha elections, it may prove to be an underdog.
The ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh had in 2012 won 34 of these seats spread across 11 districts. It has tied-up with Congress this time in the contest against BJP and BSP.
720 candidates are in the fray in this phase in UP with a maximum of 22 from Barhapur (Bijnor) and a minimum of four nominees from Dhanaura (Amroha). 2.28 crore people are eligible to vote, including over 1.04 crore women.
14,771 polling centres and 23,693 polling stations have been set up in the districts of Saharanpur, Bijnor, Moradabad, Sambhal, Rampur, Bareilly, Amroha, Pilibhit, Kheri, Shahjahanpur and Badaun and elaborate security arrangements made to ensure free amid fair polling, election officials said.
Prominent contestants include controversial SP minister Azam Khan and his son Abdullah Azam, who are contesting from Rampur and Swar seats respectively, Saif Ali Naqvi, son of former Congress MP Zafar Ali Naqvi, former central minister Jitin Prasada from Tilhar (Shahjahanpur), BJP Legislature Party leader Suresh Kumar Khanna from Shahjahanpur city and state minister Mehboob Ali from Amroha.
BSP had bagged 18 seats last time, BJP 10, Congress three and others two.
Here are the highlights
65.5% voter turnout recorded till 5pm
Nearly 60% voting recorded till 4pm
54.27% voter turn out recorded till 3pm
Over 45 per cent voting recorded till 2 PM
Total 42.05% voter turnout recorded till 1 pm in second phase of Uttar Pradesh Elections 2017
Voter turnout recorded till 1 pm in 2nd phase of Uttar Pradesh Polls 2017:Amroha-44.75%, Badaun-37.03%, Bareilly-39.06%, Moradabad-40.80%
24.14% voter turnout recorded till 11 am in second phase of UP Polls
BJP changes its Varanasi South candidate. Now Neelkanth Tiwari to contest instead of Shyamdev Rai Chaudhary
10.75% voter turnout recorded in Uttar Pradesh till 9 AM
People line up outside polling booth no 223 in Amroha,Mehboob Ali of the Cong-SP alliance,BJP's Dr Kunwer Saini&BSP's Naushad Ali contesting pic.twitter.com/n8EHHDMwIf— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) February 15, 2017
Sirmaur (HP): Schoolchildren set a world record by flying 7,730 paper planes in 1 minute with messages to shun tobacco at Moginand. pic.twitter.com/bVjlJmm3AP— ANI (@ANI_news) February 15, 2017
UP: People queue up to cast vote in Sambhal:AIMIM's Ziaur Rahman Barq,Iqbal Mehmood of Cong-SP,BJP's Dr. Arvind,BSP's Rafatullah contesting pic.twitter.com/YQ5NYF9HDN— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) February 15, 2017
Glitch in EVM machine halts the voting process at Badaun Sadar constituency's S.K.Inter College-booth no. 183.
Visuals from polling booth 128 in Bijnor, Ruchi Vira of the SP-Congress alliance, BJP's Suchi & BSP's Rashid Ahmed contesting from the seat pic.twitter.com/eopobB2bkP— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) February 15, 2017
Security arrangements in place at a polling booth in Moradabad as 67 assembly constituencies will to go polls today
Voting begins in 67 constituencies for Phase 2 of Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections
Important details about Uttar Pradesh Elections
# Total Assembly Constituencies: 67
# Date of Polling: February 15 (Phase 2 out of 7 phases)
# Total Electorate: 2.28 crore (including 1.04 crore women)
# Number of Polling Stations: 23,693
# Major Parties & Alliance
- SP (Samajwadi Party) + Indian National Congress
- Bhartiya Janta Party
- Bahujan Samaj Party
# 2012 Assembly Election Results:
- SP: 34 Seats
- BSP: 18 Seats
- BJP: 10 Seats
- Congress: 3 Seats
- Others: 2 Seat
Three-cornered fight for 67 seats
The 67 constituencies of Western UP going to polls in Phase 2 on Wednesday are witnessing a three-cornered contest between Samajwadi Party, in alliance with Congress, Mayawati’s BSP and Modi-led BJP.
While Akhilesh had registered a sweeping victory in 34 seats in 2012 assembly polls in the region, Mayawati won on 18 seats. But since 2012 BJP has increased its clout in the area, evident by vast improvement in votes during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah led the party campaign, intensifying their attack on Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his ally Congress. BJP is hoping to replicate its 2014 general election performance when it swept the politically crucial state.
The SP-Congress alliance’s charge was spearheaded by Akhilesh and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
BSP supremo Mayawati reached out to minority voters and said she will prove pollsters wrong as she did in 2012, when they had predicted her defeat.
The BJP has been attacking the ruling parties in both the states over corruption. Modi raised the issue of demonetisation and surgical strikes repeatedly at his rallies.
Congress and Samajwadi Party have in turn accused Modi of failing to deliver on his promises and causing suffering to the common man with note ban.
With western Uttar Pradesh having vast tracts of agricultural land, Modi played the pro-poor and pro-farmers card and reiterated BJP’s promise of waiving loans of small and marginal farmers and paying the dues of sugarcane growers within 14 days of coming to power.
Interestingly, political bigwigs, including SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav and Congress president Sonia Gandhi were conspicuous by their absence from the campaign trail in the first two phases of polling.
At her rallies, Mayawati went all out against the SP, alleging that the Akhilesh government had let loose a “reign of terror” in Uttar Pradesh with hooligans committing “utmost atrocities” against women.
The BSP supremo also accused the Modi government of “interfering” with the personal law of Muslims and ending reservations for backward communities in jobs and promised to extend quota benefits to the poor among the upper castes.
Her refrain was that if Muslims wanted to defeat the BJP, they should not waste their votes by backing the SP-Congress alliance.
No to vote-bank politics?
The Election Commission has barred political parties and candidates from publishing advertisements in newspapers today and tomorrow without its approval.
The EC has asked them to get the advertisements pre-certified from the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee at the state and district levels before their publication.
The poll body said the decision has been taken in view of past instances of advertisements of offending and misleading nature in print media on such occasions which vitiate the elections.
The first phase of UP polls in 73 assembly seats in UP witnessed 64.22 per cent turnout on February 11. The other five phases will be held on February 19, 23 and 27 and on March 4 and 8.
Manipur will vote on March 4 and 8. Goa and Punjab have voted on February 4.
Counting of votes in all the states will be taken up on March 11, culminating the exercise.
(With inputs from PTI)