Voting picked up in Uttar Pradesh
after a slow start on Sunday in 14 Lok Sabha constituencies of the state where SP President Akhilesh Yadav and Union minister Maneka Gandhi are among key contestants.
The average poll percentage was 21.98 per cent, a state election office spokesperson said.
While Basti parliamentary constituency recorded the highest turnout of 26.39 per cent, enthusiasm among voters was the least in Phulpur, where 18.20 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballots till 11 am.
Altogether, 177 candidates are contesting in these 14 constituencies, where 2.53 crore people are eligible to vote at 16,998 polling centres.
Polling was underway in Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Phulpur, Allahabad, Ambedkararnagar, Shrawasti, Domariyaganj, Basti, Sant Kabirnagar, Lalganj, Jaunpur, Machchlishahr, Bhadohi and Azamgarh constituencies in Purvanchal region of the state.
However, the BJP had to bite the dust in the bypolls in Phulpur and Gorakhpur constituencies last year.
While the anti-BJP alliance would like to retain its grip over both the seats, the saffron party is looking to take a sweet revenge from the opposition in this round.
The SP president's decision to contest from his father's bastion is being touted as a move to consolidate the Yadav, Dalit and Muslim voters in the Purvanchal region of Uttar Pradesh.
The seats appears tricky for Maneka Gandhi as BJP strategists are relying on a division of Congress and gathbandhan votes, besides possible counter-polarisation of non-Yadav and non-Jatav Dalit and OBC votes.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)