Agencies recorded a 57.36% voter turnout till 5 pm in the fifth phase of voting for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections on Monday, ANI reported. More than 1.84 crore voters in Uttar Pradesh could cast their ballot for candidates in 51 Assembly constituencies. Over 600 candidates are contesting in this phase of the elections, with the maximum number of 24 contesting from Amethi, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi’s constituency, PTI reported. The constituencies are spread across 11 districts.
The Samajwadi Party has fielded controversial minister Gayatri Prajapati for the Amethi seat. Prajapati will go up against Congress leader Sanjay Singh’s wife Amita Singh. Sanjay Singh’s first wife, Garima Singh, is also contesting for the seat on a Bharatiya Janata Party ticket.
At least eight ministers from Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s government are participating in the elections, with other prominent candidates including outgoing Assembly Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey (Etawah), Bahujan Samaj Party Ram Achal Rajbhar (Akbarpur) and the BJP’s Mayankeshwar Sharan Singh (Tiloi). Other districts from the state that will be part of the fifth phase of elections include Bahraich, Balrampur, Gonda and Shravasti.
Many of these districts are close to India’s border with Nepal, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the perpetrators of the Kanpur train derailment carried their “conspiracy” out by “sitting across the border”. “Gonda needs to elect only those who are full of patriotism, only then we can do anything good for Gonda,” Modi said at a rally there on February 24. Lok Sabha MP Brij Bhushan Singh’s son Prateek Bhushan Singh will contest the Gonda constituency on a BJP ticket. Central security forces on Sunday conducted flag marches in sensitive areas close to the Nepal border.
The Assembly elections in UP will be a test of the BJP’s strength, especially since it decided to demonetise 86% of India’s cash in November. The BJP has sensed an opening given the in-fighting within the SP, which has allied with the Congress for these elections. The results for the elections will be declared on March 11.