Lucknow/Imphal: Voting for the last phase covering 40 seats in Uttar Pradesh and 22 Assembly constituencies in Manipur began on Wednesday, with all eyes on the Prime Minister's Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi.
60.03 per cent votes were polled till 4 pm on Wednesday in the seventh and last phase of Uttar Pradesh elections covering 40 Assembly seats spread over seven districts.
Polling started amidst tight security arrangements this morning with all eyes on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi.
"Over 41 per cent votes were polled till 2 pm. The polling is going on peacefully," office of UP Chief Electoral Officer said here.
PM's constituency saw 37.88 per cent polling while naxal infested Mirzapur had 42.50 per cent polling till 2 PM, it said.
Three Naxal-affected districts of Sonbhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli, along with the five Assembly segments under Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency, will be in prime focus. Tight security has been put in place in these seven districts.
Ghazipur, Jaunpur and Bhadoi are the other districts where polling is going on in this phase.
In Jaunpur, BJP candidate from Jafarabad seat Harendra Pratap Singh and four others were arrested by the police for allegedly carrying voters to polling booths in two vehicles. Singh has however denied the charge.
Polling will be held till 5 PM in all constituencies, except the Naxal-hit Duddhi, Robertsganj and Chakia seats, where polling will end at 4 PM.
Counting of votes polled in all the seven phases of the Assembly polls will be taken up on March 11.
1.41 crore voters, including 64.76 lakh women, are eligible to exercise their franchise in 14,458 polling booths and 8,682 polling centres to decide fate of 585 candidates, including 51 women.
The BJP is contesting 32 seats and its allies - the Apana Dal and the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party - are contesting on 4 seats each. The BSP has fielded its nominees for all seats. While the SP is contesting 31 seats, its ally the Congress is in race for the remaining seats.
In the 2012 state Assembly polls, out of these 40 seats, 23 went to the SP, 5 to the BSP, 4 to the BJP, 3 to the Congress and 5 to others.
In all, 535 candidates, including BSP (40), BJP (32), SP (31), Cong (9), RLD 21, and NCP (5) are in the fray.
While the maximum number of 24 candidates are from Varanasi Cantt seat, the minimum number of 6 candidates are contesting from Kerakat (SC).
Prominent candidates who are in fray include former Cabinet minister Om Prakash, Parasnath Yadav, Ajay Rai, former MP Dhananjay Singh, Sigbatullah Ansari, brother of Mukhtar Ansari, and Seema Singh wife of jailed mafia Munna Bajrangi.
The turnout on these seats in 2012 was 57.92 per cent in 2012 Assembly polls.
Manipur recorded a high voter turnout of 86 per cent till 5 pm on Wednesday. Polling is being held in 22 seats in the second and final phase of the state Assembly election.
State Chief Electoral officer Vivek Kumar Dewangan said the percentage was expected to go up as long queues were still visible outside several polling booths.
"We are waiting for the final figures," he told PTI.
The CEO said, polling was peaceful except a few incidents of violence outside polling booths in Tamenglong Assembly segment.
Some cases of causing damage to the electronic voting machines (EVMs) were reported in Chandel Assembly segment. The EVMs were replaced within a short time, he added.
The 22 Assembly segments, where polling is being held, are spread over the valley district of Thoubal and the hill districts of Ukhrul, Chandel, Tamenglong and Senapati.
A huge voter turnout of 84 per cent was recorded in the first phase of polling to the 60-member Assembly on March 4....