More than 55 per cent voting was recorded in the sixth phase of the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls on Thursday.
The prominent faces among the 676 candidates for 57 seats spread across 10 districts in this phase included Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from Gorakhpur Urban and state Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu from Tamkuhi Raj.
According to tentative figures updated at 7 pm, 55.79 per cent polling was recorded. In 2017 assembly polls, the turnout was 56.47 per cent in these 57 seats.
The final tally will be released by the poll authorities later, officials said.
With this, voting for 349 of the total 403 assembly seats has been completed. The final phase of polling in the remaining 54 seats will be held on March 7.
Around 2.15 crore people were eligible to vote in this phase. The voting started at 7 am and continued till 6 pm.
The districts where polling was held on Thursday were Ambedkarnagar, Balrampur, Siddharth Nagar, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Maharajganj, Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Deoria and Ballia.
In the 2017 assembly polls, the BJP had won 46 of the 57 seats.
Till 5 pm there was about 53.31 per cent polling, according to the Election Commission of India's Turnout app.
Additional Chief Electoral Officer (ACEO) BDR Tiwari said that polling was held peacefully in the state.
According to the Home department, Ambedkarnagar recorded 62.66 per cent voting, Ballia had 52.01 per cent, Balrampur 48.90 per cent, Basti 57.20 per cent, Deoria 56 per cent, Gorakhpur 58.89 per cent, Kushinagar 59 per cent, Mahrajganj 59.5 per cent, Sant Kabir Nagar 52.20 per cent and Siddharth Nagar 51.60 per cent as per the reports received till 7 pm.
Those who cast their votes in the morning included Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Basic Education Minister Satish Dwivedi, Leader of Opposition Ram Govind Chowdhury, Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party chief Om Prakash Rajbhar, minister Upendra Tiwari and former minister Narad Rai.
Interacting with reporters after casting his vote, the chief minister said the BJP will get 80 per cent votes and the rest 20 per cent will get divided among the opposition.
The Samajwadi Party pitted the wife of the late Upendra Dutt Shukla, a former BJP leader, against Adityanath. Azad Samaj Party founder Chandrashekhar Azad also contested against the chief minister from Gorakhpur seat.
Swami Prasad Maurya, who was a minister in the Adityanath government and had quit the BJP to join the Samajwadi Party, contested from Fazilnagar where polling was held on Thursday, besides Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly and Samajwadi Party leader Ram Govind Chaudhary from Bansdih.
The ministers whose electoral fortunes were sealed in the voting machines in this phase included Surya Pratap Shahi from Pathardeva, Satish Chandra Dwivedi from Itwa, Jai Pratap Singh from Bansi, Shree Ram Chauhan from Khajani and Jai Prakash Nishad from Rudrapur.
The campaigning for this phase had witnessed the political parties going for an all-out attack against each other.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacked the BJP's rivals by tagging them as dynasts, who he claimed can never make India capable or empower Uttar Pradesh and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had rebutted by saying the BJP is only against her family, which did not bow down before it.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav in his electioneering had accused the BJP of hatching a conspiracy of ending reservation and "selling" government entities to the private sector.
Copyright©2023 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today