Polling for the bypolls to 11 assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh started to pick up with over 28 per cent voters exercising their franchise till 1 pm.

Polling, which began at 7 am amid tight security, will continue till to 6 pm, officials said.

The election office said the polling, which started at a slow pace, gradually picked up with 28.98 per cent voters casting their votes till 1 pm.

Voters are expected to come out in large numbers later in the day, they said.

While Gangoh in Saharanpur saw the highest turn out of 41.70 per cent, the Lucknow Cant seat witnessed only 16.10 per cent voter turnout till 1 pm.

Polling was going on peacefully and there was no report of any untoward incident, they said.

Polling was held up for a couple of hours after the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) developed a snag on booth number 350 at Salhipur, a report from Pratapgarh said.

District Information Officer Vijay Kumar said the EVM was replaced and the voting has since started.

Of the 11 seats, eight were earlier held by the BJP and one by its ally Apna Dal (Sonelal). The seats of Rampur and Jalalpur (Ambedkarnagar) were held by the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party respectively.

The BJP, the BSP, the SP and the Congress have fielded their candidates on all the seats.

According to the office of UP’s Chief Electoral Officer, 109 candidates are in the fray for the bypolls to the Assembly seats of Gangoh, Rampur, Iglas (SC), Lucknow Cantonment, Govindnagar, Manikpur, Pratapgarh, Zaidpur (SC), Jalalpur, Balha (SC) and Ghosi.

The by-elections were necessitated after some MLAs were elected to the Lok Sabha and resigned as members of the state assembly.

The Ghosi Assembly constituency became vacant following the resignation of sitting MLA Phagu Chauhan after he was appointed as the Governor of Bihar.