Polling in the fifth phase of the seven-phase Uttar Pradesh elections went underway early Sunday morning. This phase covers 61 constituencies including Ayodhya and recorded a 21 percent voter turnout recorded till 11 am, 2.1 percent less than the corresponding data in 2017. Polling started at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm.
A total of 2.24 crore voters will exercise their franchise in the districts of Amethi, Raebareli, Ayodhya, Sultanpur, Chikrakoot, Pratapgarh, Kaushambi, Prayagraj, Barabanki, Bahraich, Shravasti and Gonda during this phase.
This phase is crucial for the BJP, given that party and its allies won 50 of the 61 seats in the 2017 polls. A resurgent Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh Yadav is the biggest challenger here. There are 692 candidates in the fray for this phase of the election.
UP’s deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, the party’s biggest OBC face, is contesting from Sirathu in Kaushambi district. Maurya on Sunday cast his vote at a polling booth in Prayagraj.
“I appeal to the people to vote in as many numbers as possible. We will secure 300+ seats and form government,” beamed a confident Maurya.
Union Minister Anupriya Patel’s mother and Apna Dal (K) leader Krishna Patel is also contesting from the Pratapgarh seat. Apna Dal (K) has entered into an alliance with the Samajwadi Party.
Mahant Gyan Das, the head priest of Hanumangarhi Temple in Ayodhya, and other seers cast their votes on Sunday at a polling booth in the constituencies.
Early on Sunday morning, PM Modi tweeted: “Today is the fifth phase of celebration of democracy in Uttar Pradesh. I request all the voters to exercise their franchise and cast their valuable vote.”
Samajwadi Chief Akhilesh Yadav tweeted, “The higher the vote, the stronger the democracy. Vote historic in the fifth phase also! Respect this citizen’s right!”
This phase will also decide the fate of other heavyweights such as deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, minister Sidharth Nath Singh and Congress legislature party leader Aradhana Mishra.
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