Over 52 per cent voting was recorded in the first phase of the Uttar Pradesh civic polls today, with the Congress bastion Amethi logging a high turnout of 68.44 per cent and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s hometurf Gorakhpur registering the lowest. The polling passed off peacefully with voters queueing up outside polling booths since morning in the 24 districts where voting was held in the first of the three-phase election. Mayoral elections were also held for five municipal corporations — Agra, Kanpur, Ayodhya, Gorakhpur and Meerut. According to the official website of the UP State Election Commission, the overall polling percentage in the first phase stood at 52.85 per cent. In the 2012 civic election, the polling percentage in these districts was 46.1 per cent. The highest polling during the first phase was recorded in Hamirpur, which witnessed 69.59 per cent turnout, followed by Amethi which saw 68.44 per cent polling. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi represents Amethi in Parliament.
Gorakhpur witnessed the lowest voter turnout in the first phase at 39.23 per cent. This year’s turnout was, however, up by three per cent compared to the 2012 polls. In Ayodhya, from where Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath started his election campaign, voters exercised their franchise to elect their first mayor. The Adityanath government after assuming office constituted municipal corporations of Ayodhya and Vrindavan-Mathura. Turnout in Faizabad district, which includes the newly constituted Ayodhya Municipal Corporation, was 54.08 per cent. This is almost 8 per cent higher than the 2012 figure. The districts which went to polls in the first of the three phase urban local body polls are: Shamli (66.83 per cent), Meerut (54.09 per cent), Hapur (57.72 per cent), Bijnor (63.35 per cent), Badaun (60.89 per cent), Hathras (63.72 per cent), Kasganj (62.26 per cent), Agra (43.11 per cent), Kanpur Nagar (44.92 per cent), Jalaun (61.85 per cent), Hamirpur (69.59 per cent), Chitrakoot (62.19 per cent), Kaushambi (65 per cent), Pratapgarh (61.51 per cent), Unnao (62.11 per cent), Hardoi (64.14 per cent), Amethi (68.44 per cent), Faizabad (54.08 per cent), Gonda (60.39 per cent), Basti (55.57 per cent), Gorakhpur (39.23 per cent), Azamgarh (59.44 per cent), Ghazipur (57.97 per cent) and Sonbhadra (57.71 per cent). Voter turnout in the mayoral election in Gorakhpur was 35.62 per cent, while 49.98 per cent voters turned up in Faizabad to elect the first mayor of the Ayodhya Municipal Corporation.
Polling for the other two phases will be held on November 26 and November 29, while counting of votes for all the three phases would be done on December 1. Briefing reporters here, State Election Commissioner S K Agarwal said, “Polling was absolutely peaceful. Webcasting, usage of CCTV cameras and intense monitoring were done to ensure peaceful poll. Re-polling has been ordered in a polling booth in Badaun, while a case has been registered against an Independent candidate for violation of the model code of conduct in Shamli. Two EVMs were replaced each in Meerut and Kanpur.” He also claimed that during the revision of voter’s list, fake voters were removed.