Over 28 per cent votes were cast till noon today in the 69 Assembly constituencies, considered ruling Samajwadi Party stronghold, that figure in the crucial phase-III of the staggered Uttar Pradesh elections.
“In the first five hours of polling, the turnout was over 28 per cent,” a spokesman of UP Chief Electoral Officer said.
Polling was going on peacefully in these areas, he said.
Besides BSP surpemo Mayawati, Home Minister Rajnath Singh with his family cast their votes in Lucknow while Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav voted in Saifai (Etawah).
In Kanpur, 20.68 per cent voters exercised their franchise till 11 AM. The polling began slowly but picked up pace later. At some polling booths there were reports of minor skirmishes between supporters of the candidates.
Singh’s Lok Sabha constituency Lucknow and SP strongholds Kannauj, Mainpuri and Etawah figure in this round.
Farrukhabad, Hardoi, Auraiya, Kanpur Dehat, Kanpur, Unnao, Barabanki and Sitapur are among the 12 districts where these Assembly seats are spread.
Etawah is the native place of SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav, while another key district is Mainpuri from where Tej Pratap Yadav is an SP MP. From Kannauj, Dimple Yadav, wife of Akhilesh, is an MP.
In the 2012 Assembly polls, SP had won 55 of these 69 seats, while BSP, BJP and Congress secured just six, five and two respectively. One seat went to an Independent.
The fate of 826 candidates in this phase will be decided by 2.41 crore voters, including 1.10 crore women and 1,026 persons belonging to third gender category.
In this phase, the maximum number of 4,98,573 voters are in Sarojini Nagar seat of Lucknow, while the minimum of 2,72,294 voters are in Sisamau.
The highest number of 21 candidates are in Etawah, while minimum of three candidates are in Haidergarh (Barabanki).
Lucknow West and Central have 17 candidates each.
There are 25,603 polling booths in this phase.
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