50 pc voters cast ballot in phase III of UP polls

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Lucknow, Apr 18 (UNI) An estimated 50 per cent of the 1.5 crore voters today used their franchise in a by and large peaceful third phase of assembly election in Uttar Pradesh.

A total of 57 constituencies spread over 10 districts went to the polls during phase three.

State chief electoral officer (CEO) Anuj Kumar Bishnoi said the polling percentage was likely to be around 50 per cent, more than the voting percentage in the previous two phases which recorded around 46 per cent.

Bijnor district recorded the highest of 52 per cent polling, while the lowest was 45 per cent in Farrukhabad district.

Gunnaur, the constituency from where chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav is contesting, recorded 46 per cent of polling while Rampur seat recorded 38 per cent.

The otherwise peaceful election was marred by the death of an Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBPF) jawan in Amroha in a case of accidental firing. Police said Madan Mohan, a native of Uttarakhand, reportedly died of self-inflicted wounds when his automatic weapon went off accidentally.

The EC has also ordered a probe into the controversy on the missing name of State Congress president Salman Khurshid and his wife Luise Khurshid, candidate of the party from Kayamganj seat, from the voter list.

Mr Bishnoi said the commission will take an appropriate decision over the controversy as name of both the leaders were in the new voter list while the polling booth had the old one.

''The returning officer has also sent his report stating that the fresh electoral rolls having the names of both the Congress leaders were sent to the booth immediately after the controversy arose,'' he said.

The CEO, however, maintained that the EC will take the decision on the demand of either countermanding the polls in Kayamganj seat or a repoll in the booth.

Mr Bishnoi said 20 complaints related to faulty electoral rolls and Election Photo Identity Cards(EPICs) were received during the day, while 11 EVMs were replaced for malfunctioning.

In Pilibhit and Shahjahanpur districts, a heavy downpour in the afternoon prevented voters from coming out in large numbers. ''But after 1500 hrs, the voter turnout was heavy across all constituencies,'' said a police official here.

(Eds: Pick up suitably from earlier series) UNI

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