Lucknow, Apr 18 (UNI) An estimated 22 per cent of about 1.5 crore elecorate had exercised their franchise till noon today in the third phase of assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh to 57 constituencies, spread over 10 districts.
Polling was underway on a peaceful note and no untoward incident has been reported so far from anywhere.
State additional Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Mritunjay Kumar Narain told UNI here that till 1100 hours the official poll percentage was 16.57.
He said the polling was peaceful except for some preliminary teething trouble reported from several places due to non-functioning of the Electronic Voting Machines(EVMs).
''These machines were replaced immediately,'' Mr Narain said.
EC sources said the voting percentage till 1230 hours is expected to be around 22 per cent.
Polling was on at 14884 polling booths.
Meanwhile a report from Farrukhabad said state Congress president Salman Khurshid and his wife and party candidate from Kayamganj seat Luise Khurshid could not vote as their names were missing from the electoral rolls.
District authorities have directed the officials to investigate the matter.
In Rampur, however, senior Congress leader and former MP Noor Bano and state urban development minister Mohammad Azam Khan exercised their franchise.
In Gunnaur assembly constituency, from where chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav is contesting, the polling was peaceful but the turnout was very low.
Till 1100 Gunnaur recorded only 14 per cent polling whereas in the bypolls held in 2003 to elect Mr Yadav, there was a record voting of 90 per cent.
Encouraged by the violence-free polling in Phase-I on April 7 and Phase-II on April 13, the EC has further tightened security arrangements for polling in the third phase in communally sensitive Moradabad, Rampur and Bijnor districts of the state.
Security forces are conducting flag march while the international border with Nepal in Pilibhit and inter-state borders have been sealed.
Central Para Military Forces have been deployed at all polling booths and sensitive areas to ensure free and fair polling.
Deputy Election Commissioner J P Prakash is keeping a constant vigil in the sensitive areas through a helicopter while each of the 57 constituencies has been provided with one additional central observer to monitor the polling.
More than 660 companies of central para military forces, along with 60,000 state police have been deployed for polling in this phase which include several communally sensitive districts like Amroha, Moradabad, Rampur, Bijnor, Sambhal and Bareilly.
Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav(Gunnaur), deputy speaker of the state legislative assembly Rajesh Agarwal of BJP (Bareilly city), state Urban Development minister Mohammad Azam Khan (Rampur) are among the 861 candidates whose fate will be sealed in the Electronic Voting Machines(EVMs) today.