An average of 57.45 per cent polling was recorded till 5 pm on Wednesday in 59 Assembly constituencies during the fourth of the seven-phase elections in Uttar Pradesh, according to the Election Commission. As many as 624 candidates are in the fray in this round of voting being held in Pilibhit, Lakhimpur Kheri, Sitapur, Hardoi, Unnao, Lucknow, Rae Bareli, Banda, and Fatehpur districts.
The polling started at 7 am and ended at 6 pm. According to the Election Commission of India, Pilibhit recorded 61.33 per cent votes, Kheri 62.42 per cent, Sitapur 58.39 per cent, Hardoi 55.29 per cent, Unnao 54.05 per cent, Lucknow 55.08 per cent, Rae Bareli 58.40 per cent, Banda 57.54 per cent and Fatehpur 57.02 per cent. Around 73.67 per cent of votes were cast till 5 pm in polling station number 266 of the Karhal Assembly segment in Mainpuri district where a repolling has been ordered by the Election Commission. Polling in Karhal, where Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav is in the fray against Union minister and BJP's S P Singh Baghel, was held in the third phase on February 20.
While poll panel officials claimed that voting was largely peaceful, the Samajwadi Party has alleged certain irregularities in some areas of Lucknow, Unnao, Hardoi and Sitapur and demanded action. In Lucknow, BSP president Mayawati, Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma, state minister Brijesh Pathak, and many senior officials were among the early voters.
According to the Election Commission, 2.3 crore people, including 1.14 crore men and 99.3 lakh women, are eligible to vote, for whom 24,643 polling booths and 13,817 polling centres have been set up in this phase. In Lakhimpur Kheri, where eight people, including four farmers, were killed during a violence in October last year, Union Minister and BJP leader Ajay Mishra cast his vote. His son Ashish Mishra was an accused in the case of violence and was arrested. Ashish was earlier this month granted bail by the Allahabad High Court, prompting families of the deceased farmers to move the Supreme Court over the matter.
Ajay Mishra did not speak to the media, neither while going into the polling booth at a school in Banwaripur nor when he came out after casting his vote. Of the 59 seats where polling was held in this phase, the BJP had won 51 in the 2017 Assembly elections, Samajwadi Party four, Bahujan Samaj Party three, and the remaining one had gone to the BJP's ally Apna Dal (Sonelal). In 2017, 62.55 per cent polling was reported across these seats, while in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, it was 60.03 per cent. Among the prominent candidates in this phase are Uttar Pradesh Law Minister Brijesh Pathak, Samajwadi Party national spokesperson Anurag Bhadauria, ex-SP minister Abhishek Mishra, former Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker Nitin Agarwal and Aditi Singh.
With PTI Inputs