Lucknow: Over 45 per cent turnout of voters was recorded till 2 PM in 67 Assembly constituencies across 11 districts of western region figuring in the second phase of the seven-phased UP polls.
The districts where polling is on, amid tight security arrangements, are Saharanpur, Bijnor, Moradabad, Sambhal, Rampur, Bareilly, Amroha, Pilibhit, Kheri, Shahjahanpur and Badaun.
In the second of seven-phase election, 2.28 crore voters, including over 1.04 crore women, are eligible to cast their ballots in 14,771 polling centres and 23,693 polling stations.
Official sources said polling was going on at a brisk pace and there was no report of any untoward incident from anywhere.
“We are keeping a close watch on the situation. Polling is going on peacefully at all polling stations,” UP Chief Electoral Officer T Venkatesh said.
At Bareilly, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi’s 115-year-old grandfather Z U Kazmi cast his ballot.
At some places, long queues were seen outside polling stations. First time voters were found to be enthusiastic, taking selfies proudly showing indelible ink imprint on their fingers.
Muslim women in burqas were seen outside several booths, while the picture of a newly married couple going to cast vote in Bareilly went viral on social media.
Elaborate arrangements have been made for free and fair polling with deployment of 51,771 police constables, 52,598 homeguards, 5,397 sub-inspectors and 3,666 head constables to maintain law and order.
Of the 67 seats at stake, ruling Samajwadi Party had won 34 in 2012, followed by BSP 18, BJP 10, Congress three and others two.
In this phase, 720 candidates are in the fray with a maximum of 22 from Barhapur (Bijnor) and a minimum of four nominees from Dhanaura (Amroha).
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.