Polling begins for sixth phase of UP elections

Lucknow: Polling for the sixth phase of UP assembly elections covering 68 seats spread over 13 districts began today amidst tight security arrangements.

"Polling for the sixth phase of elections covering 68 assembly seats spread over 13 districts started at 7 AM and would continue till 5 PM," Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha said.

The sixth phase would cover assembly seats in Saharanpur, Prabuddha Nagar, Meerut, Bagpath, Ghaziabad, Panchsheel Nagar, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Muzaffarnagar, Mathura, Mahamayanagar and Agra.

More than 2.17 crore voters are expected to cast their votes to decide the fate of 1103 candidates, including 86 females.

To ensure free and fair elections adequate security forces have been deployed. The CEO said that polling was being held at 22,137 polling stations at 12181 centres, of which 3188 centres and 4892 stations have been marked as sensitive.

To keep a tight vigil on polling process 1015 video cameras and 2353 digital cameras have been installed.

In 2007 assembly polls 46.58 per cent votes were polled for 67 seats of which BSP got 35, BJP 12, RLD 10, SP 3, Congress 2 and others 5.

All the political parties including Congress, SP, BSP, BJP and RLD have done hectic campaigning in the Jat land of the state.

This phase would decide the popularity of Congress` alliance with Ajit Singh led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) which has stronghold in the western region of the state.

It would also decide the fate of the youth-face of RLD Jayant Chaudhary, as well as Energy Minister Ramveer Upadhyaya, deputy leader of BJP Legislative Party Hukkum Singh and former minister Rajveer Singh, who is also son of former Chief Minister Kalyan Singh.

To ensure active role of junior Chaudhary in state politics Ajit Singh has fielded Jayant, who is MP from Mathura, from Math seat in Mathura. RLD state president and bureaucrat-turned-politician Baba Hardeo Singh is also in the fray from Aitmadpur seat in Agra district.

A former officer of Provincial Civil Services, Baba Hardeo was the president of PCS Association for the longest time. Energy Minister Ramveer is also seeking rerun from Chattriya dominated Sikandrarau seat in Hathras district.

Ramveer`s prominence would also be put to test in Sadabad and Dibai seats from where his brother-in-law Satyendra Sharma and brother Vinod Updhayaya are contesting respectively.

Ramveer`s brother Vinod is pitched against Rajveer Singh, a former minister and son of ex-CM Kalyan Singh. Two more cabinet ministers Jaiveer Singh and Dharm Singh Saini are also in fray in this phase from Barauli and Nakud seats.

Popularity of Rashid Masood, who left SP and joined Congress as a Muslim leader would also be put to test in this phase as his nephew Imran Masood is in fray from Nakud seat in Saharanpur district.

This phase would also decide the impact of an appeal made by Shahi Imam of Delhi`s Jama Masjid Maulana Ahmad Bukahri in favour of SP as his son-in-law Umar Ali is in the fray for Behat seat in Saharanpur district.

This phase would also seal the fate of former minister Rajpal Tyagi, who was sacked by Mayawati, as he is contesting from Moradnagar seat in Ghaziabad district on SP ticket.