Campaigning for the first phase of Uttar Pradesh polls, which saw stalwarts of major political parties trading barbs in the key state, came to an end today.
The high pitch electioneering saw Congress leader Rahul Gandhi taking a lead and charging ruling BSP and its symbol elephant "eating money" given by the Centre.
The BSP campaign was led by state Chief Minister Mayawati, who accused the Centre of ignoring the state. While Akhilesh Yadav, son of SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, took the charge of his party's campaign.
"Campaigning for the first phase of elections, polling for which would be be held on February 8, ended this evening," additional chief electoral officer Mrityunjay Narain told reporters here.
He said that polling in 10 districts, including Sitapur, Barabanki, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Bahraich, Shravasti, Balrampur, Gonda, Siddharth Nagar and Basti would be held amidst tight security arrangements.
In this phase more than 1.70 lakh electorates would seal the fate of 862 candidates in the fray for 55 seats.
Narain said that in the first phase 6,855 polling stations have identified as critical and to ensure free and fair elections more than two lakh jawans, including of state police and central forces, have been deployed.
He said that from today upto end of polling there was would be ban on exit or opinion polls.