People wait in queues at a polling station to cast their votes for the fourth phase of UP Assembly polls, in Lucknow, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. (PTI Photo/ Nand Kumar)
Lucknow: An average of 22.62 per cent voting was recorded on Wednesday in the first four hours of polling in 59 Assembly constituencies spread over nine districts of Uttar Pradesh, the Election Commission said.
The polling started at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm.
The districts where the polling is being held are Pilibhit, Lakhimpur Kheri, Sitapur, Hardoi, Unnao, Lucknow, Rae Bareli, Banda, and Fatehpur.
This is the fourth of the seven phases of the Assembly polls in the state. As many as 624 candidates are in the fray in this round of voting. According to the ECI, Pilibhit recorded 27.44 per cent of votes, Kheri 26.28 per cent, Sitapur 22.13 per cent, Hardoi 20.13 per cent, Unnao 21.36, Lucknow 21.41 per cent, Rae Bareli 21.42 per cent , Banda 23.92 per cent and Fatehpur 22.52 per cent.
In Lucknow, BSP president Mayawati, state minister Brijesh Pathak, and a number of senior officials were among the early voters.
At several places, morning walkers came carrying voting slips to cast their votes as soon as the polling began.
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.
Lakhimpur Kheri -- one among the nine districts up for polls -- is the place where last year four farmers were mowed down by cars allegedly carrying BJP workers. Eight people, including the farmers, were killed in the violence there on October 3.
Of the 59 seats across these districts, 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, SP's national spokesperson Anurag Bhadauria, former SP minister Abhishek Mishra, former Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly deputy speaker Nitin Agarwal and Aditi Singh.