UP registers 60%, Punjab 65% polling

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Punjab voted to elect MLAs to its 117-member legislative and recorded a turnout lesser than 2017, as per the Election Commission of India, reports Asian Lite News

The voting percentage on Sunday in the third phase Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh was 60.46 per cent and 63.44 per cent in Punjab, the Election Commission said.

In Uttar Pradesh, third phase polling was held in 59 Assembly seats spread over 16 districts. Lalitpur district recorded the highest polling at 67.37 per cent followed by Etah with 63 per cent, and Mahoba 62.01 per cent till 5 p.m.

Tough battle in Punjab

Punjab voted to elect MLAs to its 117-member legislative assembly on Sunday. The state recorded 65.32 per cent voter turnout compared to 77.36 per cent in 2017, as per the Election Commission of India (ECI).

Trends show that voter turnout was slow in the early hours of polling on Sunday and picked up pace towards the evening. Voter turnout was 57.58 per cent as of 3 pm with urban pockets witnessing lower participation compared to rural Punjab.

The state is witnessing a multi-cornered fight with Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, Akali Dal-BSP and BJP-Punjab Lok Congress in the fray. This resulted in a high-decibel campaign with drugs, corruption and employment emerging as key issues.

The 2022 Punjab Assembly polls are being viewed as a prestige battle for the Congress, which is contesting to retain power in the state. Congress won 80 of 117 seats in Punjab in 2017.

Its main contender, the AAP, has been trying to advertise its ‘Delhi model’ in a bid to vote the voters of Punjab. The Aam Aadmi Party has declared Lok Sabha MP Bhagwant Mann as its chief ministerial candidate.

However, the AAP was also seen engaging in damage control in the run-up to the election after former AAP leader Kumar Vishwas accused party chief Arvind Kejriwal of having ties with pro-Khalistani separatists. Kejriwal has categorically denied the charges.

Battle in Malwa

This election in Punjab is also a prestige battle for Captain Amarinder Singh, who brought the Congress to power in the state in 2017 and served as chief minister until September of last year. Congress then chose Chamkaur Sahib MLA Charanjit Singh Channi as Captain’s successor.

Captain Amarinder Singh later floated his own party – Punjab Lok Congress – and entered into an alliance with the BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt).

All eyes are now on Patiala, which is seen as Captain Amarinder Singh’s bastion. A princely state during British rule, Patiala has gained a reputation in Punjab’s political circles as a power centre.

Led by Captain Amarinder Singh, the Congress had won seven out of the eight seats in Patiala in Punjab’s Malwa belt in 2017 with the remaining one seat going to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

However, the AAP had emerged as the second biggest party in Malwa region in the previous assembly polls.

Long battle in UP

An average of 60.46 per cent voting was recorded in 59 Assembly constituencies Uttar Pradesh in the third phase of elections on Sunday.

As many as 627 candidates are in the fray in this phase, in which over 2.15 crore people are eligible to vote in 16 districts.

Among the high-profile candidates is Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav who is contesting from Karhal assembly seat. The BJP has fielded Union minister S P Singh Baghel against him. Akhilesh Yadav’s uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav is contesting from his traditional Jaswantnagar seat.

Among the prominent political leaders who cast their votes on Sunday are Akhilesh Yadav, Dimple Yadav, Shivpal Singh Yadav, Ramgopal Yadav, Congress leader Salman Khurshid, UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh and UP minister Satish Mahana.

Meanwhile, Kanpur Mayor Pramila Pandey and former BJP office-bearer Nawab Singh have landed in trouble for posting videos in which they are seen casting their vote inside the polling booth.

Pandey took her mobile phone inside the polling booth at Hudson School, and clicked a selfie while exercising her right following which an FIR has been lodged against her, said a senior official.

The Election Commission has banned the use of mobile phones inside polling stations.

The mayor has shared a video that has gone viral on social media platforms.

District Magistrate Neha Sharma said the Kanpur Mayor has violated the rules of the Election Commission by revealing the name of the party she voted for.

Former city president of BJP’s Yuva Morcha was also allegedly caught while violating rules. Singh also took a mobile inside the booth and shot a video while casting vote.

In the 2017 UP Assembly elections, the polling percentage in these 16 districts was 62.21 per cent, the Election Commission said.

In the 2017 Assembly elections, the BJP had won 49 of the 59 seats while the SP had settled for nine. The Congress had got one seat while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) drew a blank.

The 2022 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases. The results are scheduled to be announced on March 10.

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