High Turnout in UP Phase II, Uttarakhand
Phase II crucial for SP, BJP banks on division & consolidation; U’khand women vote in hordes
Vasudha Venugopal & Sanjay Singh
Lucknow | Dehradun: The second phase of elections to the UP assembly saw a turnout of more than 65%, while the percentage in Uttarakhand was 68. The figures are likely to be revised upwards as final numbers from remote areas may not have been recorded. “Polling was held peacefully amid tight security,” UP chief electoral officer T Venkatesh said in Lucknow on Wednesday evening.
Thehigh-decibelPhase-IIfor67seats had PM Modi, Congress V-P Rahul Gandhi and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav touringthestateextensively.Withonethird portion of the electorate of this phase belonging to the Muslim community, the SP and BSP are hoping for big gains even as the BJP expects to benefitfromthesplitMuslimvote.The second phase is considered crucial for SP.Outof the67seats,SPhadwon34in thepreviousassembly,whileBSP,BJP, Congress and others won 18, 10, 3 and 2,respectively.Pollswereconductedin Saharanpur, Bijnor, Moradabad, Sambhal, Rampur, Bareilly, Amroha, Pil i bhit, Kheri, Shahjahanpur and Badaun districts.
BJP leaders feel there is a good chance for the party in at least 25 seats where the Muslim population is not very significant. “If asplithappensoraMuslimconsolidation occurs, it will influence Hindu voters and benefit the BJP,” a leader said. The SP’s alliance with the Congress is expected to benefit both parties, especially in Rampur, Moradabad and Bijnor, where the Muslim population is over 40%.
T h e vo t i n g p e r c e n t a g e in Uttarakhand, which saw a tough contest between Congress and BJP in almost every region, is higher than 2012 figure of 66.8%. Hill areas witnessed high turnout of women voters. Plains and Terai belt, which have considerable Muslim population, too registered highpolling.BJPhopesrestonwomen voters, particularly in hill areas, in view of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala YojanaunderwhichLPGconnections were provided to BPL families free. Initial reports said two Hardwar and Udhamsingh Nagar, which together sends 20 MLAs to the 70-member House, registered 70% polling.
Around72%pollingwasrecordedin Uttarkashi district. CM Harish Rawat’s native Almora district reported only around 52% polling but according to party workers this was because a good number of migrants are in the voters’ list in the region.
Rawat cast his vote at a booth in Dehradun before reaching Hardwar (rural) constituency and visited dif-
SP’s alliance with Cong to benefit both in Rampur, Moradabad and Bijnor
ferent polling booths. In BJP office in Balbir road the main concern was voting trend in constituencies that have Independents, particularly those who have revolted against the BJP leadership after ticket distribution.