UP records 57.83% voter turnout in fourth phase of Assembly polls
Lucknow, February 23, 2022
More than 57.83 per cent of the voters turned out to exercise their franchise in the fourth phase of polling in 59 constituencies that went to the polls in the crucial elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly today.
Voting in the 59 constituencies spread over nine districts began at 7 am and ended at 6 pm. No major untoward incident was reported from any of the constituencies.
According to data given by the Election Commission of India, Banda district registered 57.48 per cent polling, Fatehpur 57.38 per cent, Hardoi 56.51 per cent, Kheri 62.74 per cent, Lucknow 54.98 per cent, Pilibhit 61.42 per cent, Rae Bareli 60.22 per cent, Sitapur 58.30 per cent while Unnao registered a voter turnout of 54.12 per cent.
As many as 624 candidates, including 91 women, were in the fray in these 59 constituencies, which have a total of 2.13 crore voters, including 1.14 crore men, 99.3 lakh women and 966 electors of the third gender.
The Election Commission of India set up 24,643 polling booths at 13,817 polling stations in these 59 constituencies and made elaborate arrangements to ensure a free and fair poll.
The ruling BJP, the Samajwadi Party (SP)-Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) alliance, the Congress, and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are the main contenders in the state elections.
In the Assembly elections held in 2017, the BJP had won 51 of the 59 seats. One seat was won by its ally Apna Dal(S). Four were won by the SP while two seats were won by the Congress and two by the BSP.
In this phase, voting also took place in state capital Lucknow which has nine Assembly seats. Of these, eight seats are with the BJP.
Polling was also held in this phase in Lakhimpur Kheri, which has become a focal point of the farmer protest, especially after the October 3 incident in which four farmers were mowed down by a SUV owned by Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni's son Ashish Mishra.
Ashish Mishra was recently released on bail from jail last week.
The opposition has been constantly targeting the BJP over this incident and Mishra's release has further stoked the fires.
This phase is crucial for the BJP which faces the challenge of retaining its 51 seats. The party is facing resistance in the Terai region where BJP MP Varun Gandhi has been speaking up on issues against his own party. He is the MP from Pilibhit, a farmer-dominated constituency.
Then the party faces hostile voters in Lakhimpur Kheri where the opposition is refusing to let the October 2021 incident fade from public memory.
In Sitapur, the BJP faces rebel candidates.
For the Congress, the biggest challenge of these elections comes from Rae Bareli that also went to the polls today. Both the Congress MLAs, Aditi Singh and Rakesh Singh, have turned rebels and joined the BJP.
Rae Bareli is the parliamentary constituency of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and the party will face major embarrassment if it fails to win Assembly seats here.
Another keenly watched seat in this phase is the Sarojini Nagar seat in Lucknow where the former Joint Director of Enforcement Directorate, Rajeshwar Singh, was pitted against Abhishek Mishra, a former IIM professor and a close aide of the former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Unnao is one of the most talked-about seats in this phase where Congress fielded the mother of a rape survivor against the BJP's sitting MLA.