Lucknow, April 23: Braving scorching sun, an estimated 47.10 per cent of voters exercised their franchise till 3 pm Tuesday in 10 Lok Sabha seats of Uttar Pradesh amid reports EVM snags at some booths. Prominent leaders in the fray in this phase are four members of SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav's clan besides senior party leader Azam Khan and actor and BJP candidate Jaya Prada.
The office of the chief electoral officer here said Moradabad witnessed the highest turnout of 49.54 per cent till 3 pm. There were some complaints of EVMs malfunctioning at some booths and they were promptly attended to it, Chief Electoral Officer L Venkateshwar Lu here said. A report from Sambhal said there had been reports of EVMs developing snags in polling booths in Chandausi and Asmoli assembly segments of the Aonla Lok Sabha seat. Uttar Pradesh Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Phase 3 Voting Underway in Rampur, Mainpuri, Badaun, Bareilly and 6 Other Parliamentary Constituencies.
In Pilibhit, the voting at a sensitive polling booth in Kukrikheda started late by about an hour due to faulty EVMs. Presiding officer Yogesh Kumar of a polling booth in Etah Zila Panchayat were removed after the voters accused him of forcing them to cast their votes in favour of the Samajwadi Party.
SP leader and former chairman of Bhargain Nagar Panchayat Ahmed Nafis alias Kalia was taken into custody in Kasganj under Etah Lok Sabha seat anticipating breach of peace. He will be in police custody till 6 PM, officials said. The Samajwadi Party lodged a complaint against the malfunctioning of EVMs with the Election Commission, terming it as criminal negligence.
SP MP Dharmendra Yadav, who is seeking re-election from Badaun, lodged a complaint against senior state minister Swami Prasad Maurya that he was campaigning in constituency for his daughter and BJP candidate Sanghmitra Maurya, but a raid by district administration officials failed to find him. The seats where polling is taking place are spread over the Rohilkhand region of the state where the BJP had won seven out of the ten seats in 2014 and has a huge stake this time.
The three Yadav family members who are seeking re- election rom Mainpuri, Badaun and Firozabad in this phase are Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav and his two nephews, Dharmendra Yadav and Akshay Yadav. Pitted against Akshay Yadav, son of Mulayam Singh Yadav's cousin Ram Gopal Yadav, is party patriarch's another brother Shivpal Yadav.
Shivpal Yadav, who has fallen out with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, is fighting from Firozabad after floating a new political outfit, Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia). In 2014, Mulayam Singh had won both the Mainpuri and Azamgarh seats, but had vacated the first one, which was won by another family member Tej Pratap Singh in the subsequent bye-election.
The electoral fortunes of senior SP leader Azam Khan will also be decided in this phase from Rampur which witnessed a new low in campaigning this time with Khan making a derogatory remark against BJP candidate Jaya Prada. The other political heavyweights facing Tuesday's test include Union minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar, who is fighting from Bareilly and BJP's Varun Gandhi from Pilibhit.
The 10 constituencies going to polls in the third phase are Moradabad, Rampur, Sambhal, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etah, Budaun, Aonla, Bareilly and Pilibhit. A total of 1.76 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in this phase at 20,116 polling booths to decide the fate of 120 candidates in the fray.