LUCKNOW | DEHRADUN: The second phase of elections to the UP assembly saw a turnout of more than 65%, while the percentage in Uttarakhand was 68. The figures are likely to be revised upwards as final numbers from remote areas may not have been recorded.
“Polling was held peacefully amid tight security,” UP chief electoral officer T Venkatesh said in Lucknow on Wednesday evening.
The high-decibel Phase-II for 67 seats had PM Modi, Congress V-P Rahul Gandhi and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav touring the state extensively.
With onethird portion of the electorate of this phase belonging to the Muslim community, the SP and BSP are hoping for big gains even as the BJP expects to benefit from the split Muslim vote.
The second phase is considered crucial for SP. Out of the 67 seats, SP had won 34 in the previous assembly, while BSP, BJP, Congress and others won 18, 10, 3 and 2, respectively. Polls were conducted in Saharanpur, Bijnor, Moradabad, Sambhal, Rampur, Bareilly, Amroha, Pilibhit, Kheri, Shahjahanpur and Badaun districts.
BJP leaders feel there is a good chance for the party in at least 25 seats where the Muslim population is not very significant.
“If a split happens or a Muslim consolidation occurs, it will influence Hindu voters and benefit the BJP,” a leader said. The SP’s alliance with the Congress is expected to benefit both parties, especially in Rampur, Moradabad and Bijnor, where the Muslim population is over 40%.
The voting percentage in Uttarakhand, which saw a tough contest between Congress and BJP in almost every region, is higher than 2012 figure of 66.8%. Hill areas witnessed high turnout of women voters.
Plains and Terai belt, which have considerable Muslim population, too registered high polling. BJP hopes rest on women voters, particularly in hill areas, in view of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana under which LPG connections were provided to BPL families free. Initial reports said two Hardwar and Udhamsingh Nagar, which together sends 20 MLAs to the 70-member House, registered 70% polling.
Around 72% polling was recorded in Uttarkashi district. CM Harish Rawat’s native Almora district reported only around 52% polling but according to party workers this was because a good number of migrants are in the voters’ list in the region.