Brisk polling was recorded for the third phase of UP Assembly elections for 56 seats in 10 districts with nearly 35% of the over 1.75 crore electorate exercising their franchise in the first six hours.
Naxal-hit Sonbhadra district recorded maximum 38% polling, whereas minimum 30% was registered in Allahabad.
"Voting began at 7 am for the third phase of assembly elections and 34.72% polling was recorded till 1 pm," Election Commission officials said here. Among other districts, CSM Nagar recorded 36%, Sultanpur 33%, Kaushambi 36%, Jaunpur 32.66%, Varanasi 32.8%, Bhadoi 37% and Mirzapur 34%. This phase will decide the fate of three cabinet ministers, a minister of state, 29 sitting MLAs and 14 former ministers. More than 1.75 crore voters are expected to cast their votes to seal the fate of 1,018 candidates in the polling to be held in CSM Nagar, Sultanpur, Kaushambi, Allahabad, Jaunpur, Chandauli, Varanasi, Sant Ravidas Nagar, Mirzapur and Sonbhadra. Fate of 1,018 candidates in 10 districts, including Amethi and Rae Bareli, bastion of Nehru-Gandhi family, and Naxal-hit districts Chandauli, Sonbhadra and Mirzapur would be decided in the third phase. In this phase, at least 121 candidates with criminal background and as many as 48 'crorepatis' are in the fray.
Sinha said that polling would end by 4 pm in Naxal-affected area of Chakia in Sonbhadra and Duddhi in Robertsganj of Sonbhadra. A total of 2,025 polling stations have been identified as sensitive and 1,766 as hyper sensitive. The CEO said that polling was being held at 18,374 polling booths at 11,607 polling stations where 1,122 video cameras and 1,190 digital cameras have been installed to maintain a vigil on poll process. Stakes are high for ruling BSP, Congress, SP and the BJP in the no holds barred fight for the 403 assembly seats.