People waiting in a queue to cast their votes at a polling booth in Uttarakhand to elect a new state legislative assembly, on February 14, 2022. (IANS)

People waiting in a queue to cast their votes at a polling booth in Uttarakhand to elect a new state legislative assembly, on February 14, 2022. (IANS)

Assembly elections: Voting begins in 2nd phase of polling in UP as well as in Uttarakhand and Goa

New Delhi, February 14, 2022

Voting began this morning amidst tight security in the second phase of polling in the elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly as well as in the single-phase polling for the Uttarakhand and Goa assemblies.

The first of the seven phases of polling in Uttar Pradesh was held on February 10, when more than 60 per cent voting was recorded. The remaining phases of polling are scheduled to be held on February 20, 23 and 27and March 3 and 7.

Punjab will have single-phase polling on February 20, while Manipur will vote in two phases on February 28 and March 5 to elect its new assembly.

Counting of votes in all five states will be held on March 10.

Polling, which began at 0700 hours in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Goa, will end at 1800 hours.

In Uttar Pradesh, voting is being held in 55 constituencies spread across nine districts in the second phase of polling today where nearly 2.02 crore voters will decide the fate of 586 candidates.

The nine districts where polling is being held are Saharanpur, Bijnore, Moradabad, Rampur, Bareilly, Amroha, Sambhal, Badaun and Shahjahanpur.

In the last assembly elections in 2017, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had won 38 of these 55 seats, while the Samajwadi Party (SP) had got 15 seats and the Congress two seats. he Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) did not win any seat in this region in 2017.

A prominent contestant in this phase is Mohammed Azam Khan, who is the SP candidate from Rampur. Azam Khan is contesting the elections from jail and his entire campaign has been run by his wife Tanzeen Fatima and son Abdullah Azam, who is contesting the neighbouring Suar seat.

The SP is banking on sympathy for the jailed leader and his family to ensure success on Rampur and Suar seats.

BJP's Suresh Khanna is seeking his ninth term as legislator from Shahjahanpur. He has been winning polls since 1989.

Meanwhile, Chief Electoral Officer Ajay Kumar Shukla has said that adequate steps have been taken to ensure free, fair and peaceful voting.

"Voting on 23,404 booths, under 12,544 polling centres, is taking place between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.," he said.

In Goa, polling is being held for all 40 Assembly seats, with as many as 301 candidates in the fray.

The ruling BJP, which has been in power in the coastal state since 2012, is aiming for a hat-trick.

The main parties in the fray are the ruling BJP, Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Trinamool Congress, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), NCP, and the Revolutionary Goans Party (RGP), among others.

The BJP is contesting in all 40 state seats for the first time, while the Congress has fielded 37 candidates. AAP, Trinamool, MGP have fielded 39, 26, 13 candidates, respectively.

The BJP and the AAP are going into the polls on their own, while the Congress has tied up with the Goa Forward party. Similarly, the MGP is contesting the elections in alliance with the TMC.

As many as 11,56,464 voters are eligible to cast their ballot in the polls, which are being held at 1,600 polling stations.

According to Chief Electoral Officer Kunal, 20,000 security personnel have been posted in Goa to maintain law and order during polling.

In Uttarakhand, polling is being held for all 70 assembly seats today. There are more than 82 lakh voters who will decide the political fate of 632 candidates. A total of 11,697 booths have been set up.

Prominent candidates of the ruling BJP in the fray include Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, his cabinet colleagues Dhan Singh Rawat, Satpal Maharaj, Yatishwarananda, Subodh Uniyal, Ganesh Joshi, Rekha Arya and state BJP president Madan Kaushik. Former Uttarakhand Congress president Kishore Upadhyay is trying his luck this time on a BJP ticket.

On the Congress ticket, former chief minister Harish Rawat, former minister Yashpal Arya, state unit president Ganesh Godiyal and Leader of Opposition in the fourth assembly Pritam Singh are trying their luck.

As far as the electoral history of the state is concerned, no political party has been able to return to power for the second time in a row.

However, speaking to IANS, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said that after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014, many such myths have been busted in the country and, like Assam and Haryana, the BJP is going to form the government for the second consecutive time in Uttarakhand.

In the hill state, the main contest is between the ruling BJP and the principal Opposition Congress, but in many seats, the BSP, Aam Aadmi Party and Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD) are also seen in a position to make the electoral contest triangular.

The UKD, the party which had initiated and led the struggle for formation of a separate hill state from Uttar Pradesh, is hoping to revive its political fortunes in this year's assembly polls.

In the 2017 Assembly polls, the BJP won 57 of 70 seats. Congress won 11 and two independents also got elected.

(With inputs from IANS)


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