Large turnout as fifth phase polling ends in UP (Roundup)

Lucknow, Feb 27 (IANS) Millions voted on Monday in the fifth phase of the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls spread across 51 constituencies in 11 districts, officials said.

An estimated 60 per cent of the 1.8 crore electorate exercised their franchise between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the country’s most populous state, the Election Commission said.

Barring minor incidents of violence and technical problems in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the balloting concluded peacefully, the poll panel said.

Amethi and Sultanpur saw healthy voting, with more than 60 per cent of the electorate voting.

One official said the voting percentage was set to surpass the turnout of 2012.

The voting ranged from 52.4 per cent at Siddarthnagar to 65 per cent each in Shravasti and Ambedkarnagar.

It was 53 per cent in Gonda and Balrampur districts, 58 in Faizabad and Sant Kabeernagar (58), 60 in Bahraich and 61 in Basti district.

As it has happened in the first four rounds that began on February 11, polling opened in the morning slowly but picked up speed as the day progressed.

There were long queues of men and women voters at all polling stations in Amethi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi.

BJP’s first timer Garima Singh is pitted against Gayatri Prajapati of the ruling Samajwadi Party and Congress’ Ameeta Singh in Amethi besides 21 other candidates.

It is one of those constituencies where the Congress-Samajwadi Party alliance hasn’t worked.

Voting took place in 18,822 booths to decide the fate of 607 candidates. Amethi had the maximum number of 24 contestants.

At many places, people were still standing in queues even after the 5 p.m. deadline. Officials said people already in the lines would be allowed to vote.

Election has been cancelled in Alapur in Ambedkarnagar district following the death of the Samajwadi Party candidate.

In 2012, the Samajwadi Party won 36 of the 51 seats, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress five each, the BSP three and the Peace Party two.

A total of 262 of the 403 assembly constituencies voted in the first four rounds of the elections. The last two rounds will take place on March 4 and 8.

The results of the elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Goa and Punjab will be known on March 11.

–IANS

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