Lucknow: As the mega show of 7-phased UP assembly elections is nearing its climax, vote percentage is dwindling with each passing phase with the sixth phase on Saturday logging the lowest 57.03% of all the previous phases so far.
However, the turnout was higher than 55.04% in 2012 assembly polls and 54.72 % in 2014 Lok Sabha polls in the corresponding phase. In the sixth phase, voters gave their verdict on 49 seats across seven districts. The voter strike rate was 64%, 66%, 61.16%, 60.75% and 57.36% respectively in the first five phases.
The voting was peaceful overall, barring a minor incident at Phephna in Ballia district where the son of BSP candidate Ambika Chaudhary was arrested for allegedly indulging in bogus voting.
While Maharajganj recorded the maximum 60.80 % turnout, Deorai witnessed the lowest 54.89 % polling. While 56.89% voters turned up in Yogi Adityanath’s Gorakhpur, Mukhtar Ansari’s Mau was slightly ahead with 58.75%. Azamgarh with 10 constituencies recorded a moderate 56.38%, and Kushinagar closed at 58.08%. Ballia saw 55.57% voters exercising their franchise.
The phase saw a triangular fight among SP-Congress, BJP-Apna Dal and BSP.
The BSP contested from all the 49 seats in the sixth phase followed by BJP from 45 and its ally Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) from four, SP from 40 and Congress from 10.
In 2012, of the 49 seats, SP won 27, Congress had four, BSP got nine, BJP bagged seven, while Qaumi Ekta Dal and Nationalist Congress Party got one each. In 2014 LS elections, BJP dominated in 42 assembly segments under the Modi wave, SP clinched six, and Congress got one.
Considered to be the political badlands of UP, this region is dominated mainly by bahubalis (musclemen) who hit the battleground to try their fate as people’s representatives. The seven districts – Maharajganj, Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Deoria, Azamgarh, Mau and Ballia – which went to polls in this phase present a fertile landscape but rank very low on development scale.
Besides four ministers from Akhilesh Yadav government, several other political bigwigs also tried their luck in this phase. These included jailed don Mukhtar Ansari (Mau), BSP turncoat Swami Prasad Maurya from Padrauna on BJP ticket, mafia-turned-politician Amarmani Tripathi’s son Amanmani as an independent candidate from Nautanwa, bahubali Hari Shankar Tiwari’s son Vinay Tiwari from Chillupar, Congress’ commando Kamal Kishor (Khajani), former BJP state president Surya Pratap Shahi (Pathardeva), Mulayam loyalist Ambika Chaudhary on BSP ticket from Phephana and bahubali Ramakant Yadav’s son Arun from Phoolpur Pawai.