High Turnout in UP Phase II, Ut­tarak­hand

Phase II cru­cial for SP, BJP banks on divi­sion & con­sol­i­da­tion; U’khand women vote in hordes

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics Important Players -

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.

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