Over 35 per cent voter turnout was recorded on Monday till 1 pm in 14 Lok Sabha seats of Uttar Pradesh where Union Ministers Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi are in the fray.
Among early voters in the state capital included Home Minister Singh, BSP supremo Mayawati, Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma, BSP general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra, DGP OP Singh and Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar.
Election officials in Lucknow said polling was going on smoothly, barring some complaints of EVM malfunctioning which were attended to immediately.
Union minister and the BJP’s Amethi candidate Irani alleged that the Congress president was “ensuring booth capturing” in the constituency.
She said Rahul Gandhi are contesting against each other in the seat.
“Alert @ECISVEEP Congress President @Rahul Gandhi ensuring booth capturing,” Irani said on Twitter.
She also tagged a video in which an elderly woman is seen alleging that her hand was forcibly put on ‘panja’ (hand), election symbol of the Congress, though she wanted to vote for the ‘kamal’ (lotus), the BJP’s symbol.
However, there is no written complaint on the matter.
Till 1 pm, 35.43 per cent polling was witnessed in the state, EC officials said.
Maximum 40.39 percent voting was witnessed in Banda, while Lucknow recorded 33.14 per cent voting.
Rae Bareli and Amethi witnessed 32.60 per cent and 33.94 per cent turnout respectively, the officials said.
The BJP had bagged 12 of the 14 seats in 2014 with the Congress winning Rae Bareli and Amethi.
Polling was underway in Dhaurahra, Sitapur, Mohanlalganj (SC), Lucknow, Banda, Fatehpur, Kaushambi (SC), Barabanki (SC), Faizabad, Bahraich (SC), Kaiserganj and Gonda constituencies where a total of 182 candidates are in the fray.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is contesting on five seats – Dhaurahra, Sitapur, Mohanlalganj, Fatehpur and Kaisarganj.
Its ally Samajwadi Party (SP) is fighting on seven seats – Lucknow, Banda, Kaushambi, Barabanki, Faizabad, Bahraich and Gonda.
In Amethi and Rae Bareli, the SP-BSP alliance has not put up any candidate, leaving the two constituencies for the Congress.
The Union Home Minister is seeking re-election from Lucknow, while his colleague at the Centre Irani is again taking on Rahul Gandhi in Amethi.
In the Faizabad parliamentary constituency, under which the temple town of Ayodhya falls, sitting BJP MP Lallu Singh is taking on Nirmal Khatri of the Congress. Khatri is a former Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief.
Former Union minister and Congress candidate Jitin Prasad is contesting from Dhaurahra against former Chambal brigand Malkhan Singh.
In Lucknow, the SP has pitted Poonam Sinha, wife of actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha, as the joint ‘mahagathbandhan’ candidate against Rajnath Singh.