Uttar Pradesh braves rising mercury for 60 percent voting

Lucknow, April 30: Rising day temperatures failed to flag the spirits of voters in Uttar Pradesh with 59.60 percent polling recorded across the 14 Lok Sabha constituencies that went to polls Wednesday.

While the past three phases saw an impressive turnout with an average of 60 percent, it was feared that extreme heat would hit the fourth round of the Lok Sabha election in the state.

With the mercury in Lucknow and most parts of the state at 42 degrees Celsius Wednesday, Election Commission (EC) officials attributed it to the poor voting in some areas.

But the voting percentage increased over the 2009 election. In Lucknow, polling was 54.35 percent, 20 percent more than the last polls, poll officials said.

There was 54 percent turnout in Kanpur where former union HRD minister Murli Manohar Joshi of the BJP is locked in a direct contest with union coal minister and sitting Congress MP Sriprakash Jaiswal.

In Rae Bareli, where Congress president Sonia Gandhi is seeking re-election, 52.60 percent voters turned up. In Unnao, neighbouring the state capital, polling was poor at 50.94 percent while it was 66.40 percent in Sitapur and 53.96 percent in Mishrikh.

In Dhaurhara from where union minister Jitin Prasada is the Congress candidate, a high of 62.80 percent voted, EC officials said.

A total of 55.60 percent cast votes in Hamirpur. The figures were 54.47 percent in Banda, 58.36 percent in Chitrakoot, 55.28 percent in Jalaun, 61.17 in Mohanlalganj, 56.23 percent in Hardoi and 58.58 percent in Fatehpur. Barabanki, on the outskirts of Lucknow, recorded an impressive 63.90 percent balloting.

Meanwhile, supporters of a Samajwadi Party legislator thrashed a CRPF trooper in Biswan area of Sitapur.

Officials told IANS they received complaints from Navva Behad polling station that Samajwadi Party workers, led by legislator Rampal Yadav, were intimidating electors to vote for the party, after which a CRPF trooper tried to intervene but was roughed up.

He was sent to a medical facility and the election observer has ordered action against the guilty.

Not a single vote was cast in five villages of Hamirpur, including Purwa Panwari, Dariyapur and Rigvana Khurd, as the electors were angry at the indifference