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UP records over 35 pc voter turnout till 1 pm in third phase of LS polls

twitter-logoPTI | April 23, 2019 | Updated 15:03 IST

(Eds: Updates turnout; adds EVM complaints) Lucknow, Apr 23 (PTI) Braving scorching heat, an estimated 35.49 per cent of voters exercised their franchise till 1 pm Tuesday in 10 Lok Sabha seats of Uttar Pradesh even as EVM snags were reported at some booths. Prominent leaders in the fray in this phase are four members of SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav's clan besides those of senior party leader Azam Khan and actor and BJP candidate Jaya Prada. The office of the chief electoral officer here said Moradabad witnessed the highest turnout of 39.24 per cent till 1 pm. There were reports of EVMs malfunctioning in some booths which have been promptly attended to it, the Chief Electoral Officer here said. A report from Sambhal said there had been reports of EVMs developing a snag in polling booths in Chandausi and Asmoli vidhan sabha segments of the Aonla Lok Sabha seat. In Pilibhit, polling at the sensitive polling booth in Kukrikheda started about an hour late because of faulty EVMs. At the polling booth in Etah Zila Panchayat, voters alleged that presiding office Yogesh Kumar was forcibly getting votes polled in favour of the Samajwadi party following which he was removed. The Samajwadi Party lodged a complaint against the malfunctioning of EVMs with the commission, terming it as criminal negligence. The party's sitting MP Dharmendra Yadav, who is seeking re-election from Badaun, had complained against Swami Prasad Maurya, a senior minister in the Yogi government, alleging that he was attempting to influence polling to favour his daughter Sangmitra Maurya, who is a BJP candidate. A raid carried out by the district administration failed to find him. The seats where polling is taking place are spread over the Rohilkhand region of the state where the BJP had won seven out of the ten seats in 2014 and has a huge stake this time. The three Yadav family members who are seeking re-election rom Mainpuri, Badaun and Firozabad in this phase are Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav and his two nephews, Dharmendra Yadav and Akshay Yadav. Pitted against Akshay Yadav, son of Mulayam Singh Yadav's cousin Ram Gopal Yadav, is another brother of the party patriarch, Shivpal Yadav, who has fallen out with SP president Akhilesh Yadav, and fighting from Fiorozabad after floating a new political outfit, Pragateesheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia). In 2014, Mulayam Singh had won both the Mainpuri and Azamgarh seats, but had vacated the first one, which was won by another family member Tej Pratap Singh in the subsequent bye-election. The electoral fortunes of senior SP leader Azam Khan will also be decided in this phase from Rampur which witnessed a new low in campaigning this time. The other political heavyweights facing Tuesday's test include Union minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar, who is fighting from Bareilly and BJP's Varun Gandhi from Pilibhit. With a large area of the Rohilkhand region considered a stronghold of Samajwadi Party, the state's trilateral alliance of the SP, BSP and RLD has left no stone unturned in campaigning. The 10 constituencies going to polls in the third phase are Moradabad, Rampur, Sambhal, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etah, Budaun, Aonla, Bareilly and Pilibhit. A total of 1.76 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in this phase at 20,116 polling booths to decide the fate of 120 candidates in the fray. PTI SAB SMI IJT

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