Polling picked up in 13 Lok Sabha constituencies of Uttar Pradesh as an estimated 34.40 per cent voters exercised their franchise till 1 pm Monday.
Seats, where polling is underway in the state, are Shahjahanpur (SC), Kheri, Hardoi (SC), Misrikh (SC), Unnao, Farrukhabad, Etawah (SC), Kannauj, Kanpur, Akbarpur, Jalaun (SC), Jhansi and Hamirpur.
In Kannauj, a representative of Samajwadi Party MP Dimple Yadav, Guddu Saxena, has complained to the observers that the district administration allegedly was not allowing SP leaders and workers to move out of their houses.
He complained that security personnel in large numbers were deployed outside the houses of SP leaders before polling began and also alleged that EVMs in the SP strongholds were malfunctioning.
Complaints of EVM malfunctioning were also reported in Etawah under Auriaya district, with voters saying that they had to wait for hours at polling booths in Tilak Mahavidyalaya, Sahupur, Ajitmal and Dalelnagar to cast their votes.
Reports that a woman being allegedly beaten up after she did not cast her vote in favour of Samajwadi Party candidate came up from Ekghara village of the Achalda police station area.
Superintendent of Police, Auraiya, has ordered lodging of an FIR against a man who allegedly carried his mobile phone into a polling booth and posted a picture while casting his vote on social media.
Polling in this phase is specially important for the ruling BJP as it is aiming for a clean sweep by winning all 13 seats, including Kannauj which was the only seat the Samajwadi Party had managed to win in 2014.
Kannauj was won by Samajwadi Party’s Dimple Yadav.
On four of these seats — Shahjahanpur, Hardoi, Mishrikh and Etawah– the BJP has opted for new faces.
The SP-BSP alliance has fielded six BSP candidates and seven SP candidates. While the BSP is contesting from Shahjahanpur (SC), Misrikh (SC), Farrukhabad, Akbarpur, Jalaun (SC) and Hamirpur, the SP has fielded candidates from Kheri, Hardoi (SC), Unnao, Etawah, Kannauj, Kanpur and Jhansi.
The Congress has fielded candidates from 12 parliamentary constituencies, and it is not contesting Kannauj.
Some of the prominent candidates whose electoral fate will be decided in this phase are Dimple Yadav, former Union ministers Salman Khurshid (Farrukhabd) and Sriprakash Jaiswal (Kanpur) of Congress, UP Cabinet minister Satyadev Pachauri (Kanpur), Sakshi Maharaj of BJP (Unnao) and Annu Tandon of Congress (Unnao).
In Etawah, sitting MP Ashok Kumar Dohare was dropped by the BJP and he was given ticket by the Congress.
The BJP has fielded Ram Shankar Katheria, who is the sitting MP, from Agra (SC). Katheria is also the chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes.
These 13 seats also include three Lok Sabha seats of Bundelkhand — Jalaun (SC), Jhansi and Hamirpur — while the fourth Banda will go to polls in the fifth phase on May 6.
As many as 2,41,07,084 voters are eligible to exercise their voting rights at 27,516 polling booths located in 17,011 polling centres.
Almost all parties made all-out efforts to win over the voters with electioneering reaching a feverish pitch on the last day of campaigning on Saturday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed two back-to-back rallies in Kannauj and Hardoi.
Congress’ Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav and UP CM Yogi Adityanath also held road shows and election meetings on the last day.