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LS Bypolls: 43 pc turnout in Gorakhpur; 37.39 pc in Phulpur

Press Trust of India  |  Lucknow 

Forty three per cent voters cast their mandate in the parliamentary constituency today while recorded an even lesser 37.39 per cent turnout as the crucial bypolls to the two seats were held peacefully, the said.

Polling began at 7 AM and passed off peacefully at 5 PM, the said.

"recorded a turnout of 43 per cent and 37.39 per cent," it added.

There were complaints of EVM malfunctioning at a few booths, but the machines were promptly replaced without affecting the polling, an said here.

The reason behind the lower than expected turnout in the high-stakes polls in the country's electorally most significant state was said to be a lack of enthusiasm among voters who are now looking forward to the which are barely a year away.

Tight security arrangements were in place to ensure free and fair polling. Apart from the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and homeguard jawans, 65 companies of central paramilitary forces were deployed to ensure peaceful bypolls.

The bypolls were necessitated after Chief and Deputy Chief vacated their and seats after getting elected to the

After casting his vote in Gorakhpur, Adityanath said the BJP was getting widespread support.

"The people know that development is the only panacea," he told reporters there.

Attacking the BSP and the SP, he said, "These parties are indulging in negative politics, of bargaining and of opportunism. The state has suffered the negative consequences because of this. To ensure that in future such a situation does not arise, efforts have to be made to shun of casteism and dynastic politics, and the focus should be on development and administration."

Asked about the SP and BSP entering an electoral understanding, Adityanath said it would have no effect on the outcome of the polls.

"If the SP, BSP and had fought together, then results would have been much better for us," he said.

Termed by Adityanath as a "rehearsal" for the 2019 elections, the bye-polls are witnessing a triangular contest involving the ruling BJP, the and the

The saffron party has fielded Kaushalendra Singh Patel from Phulpur and Upendra Dutt Shukla from Gorakhpur against the SP's Pravin Nishad and Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel, respectively. The has nominated for Gorakhpur and for Phulpur Lok Sabha seat.

Ten candidates are in the fray from Gorakhpur, while 22 candidates are contesting from Phulpur.

Gorakhpur is significant for the BJP as it is the bastion of the chief minister, who represented the seat Lok Sabha five times. Prior to Adityanath, the seat was represented in parliament by his mentor Yogi Avaidyanath thrice.

Phulpur, once represented by the country's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, witnessed a saffron surge in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as Maurya won there.

Maurya exuded confidence that the BJP would sweep the ongoing bypolls.

"I am confident that on March 14 (when results are declared), the record made in Phulpur in 2014 (Lok Sabha elections) will be repeated, and our candidate will emerge victorious," he told reporters after casting his vote for the Phulpur seat along with family members.

Asked about the BJP's plans to counter the electoral understanding between SP and BSP, Maurya said, "We have already expanded enough, and in future if any political party wants to join us, it will be definitely deliberated upon. But, today from UP's point of view, the poll alliance of the BJP, (Sonelal) and (SBSP) exists. Apart from this, we do not have any other alliance. And, on this alliance, we will win 80 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state," he said.

Taking a jibe at the SP-BSP tie-up, the said, "Their (SP-BSP) votes will be transferred only when they have enough votes".

"The votes (of the people) are with us. But, they have only leaders who make statements...The voters of Mayawatiji have deserted the BSP and have reposed their faith in Modiji, Yogi and BJP. We are winning both the Lok Sabha seats, and with wider margin," Maurya claimed.

cast his vote in Gorakhpur, while UP exercised his franchise in Phulpur.

Interestingly, it was on this day last year that BJP and its allies stormed to power in the elections.

In Gorakhpur parliamentary constituency, there were 970 polling centres and 2,141 polling booths, while in Phulpur, there were 793 polling centres and 2,059 polling booths.

According to the Election Commission, there are 19.61 lakh voters in the Phulpur parliamentary constituency, while the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat has a 19.49 lakh electorate. As many as 4,728 (VVPAT) machines were used in the bypolls and provisions were made for from 95 critical booths.

Counting of ballots will be taken up on March 14.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, March 11 2018. 18:40 IST