UP votes, Varanasi in the fray in last phase
Polling began on Monday morning on a peaceful note for 18 seats in the crucial last phase of Lok Sabha polls in eastern Uttar Pradesh, to decide the fate of 328 candidates, including BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav.
“The polling has started on a peaceful note and will continue till 6 pm. Elaborate security arrangements have been made for this phase”, UP Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha said.
Over 3 crore voters, including 1.42 crore women, are expected to exercise their franchise at 19,881 polling centres to decide the fate of 328 candidates including 14 women and various political stalwarts.
In the mother of all political battles, Mr. Kejriwal will take on Mr. Modi from the temple city of Varanasi, which witnessed a massive show of strength by both the outsiders, also attracting the attention of international media.
Congress’ Ajay Rai, a ‘local’ backed by Mukhtar Ansari’s Quami Ekta Dal (QED), also wooed voters here as the high pitched canvassing saw allegations and counter-allegations flying thick and fast between leaders of different hues.
On these 18 seats, Samajwadi Party had clinched six seats from the region, BSP (5), BJP (4) and Congress (3) in 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
Interestingly, the BSP had registered marginal loss and ended up in the second place in 12 seats.
The Samajwadi Party supremo, besides sticking to his traditional bastion in Mainpuri, has thrown his hat into the ring from Azamgarh too.