Lucknow, May 11 (GCCurrentAffairs) Over 1.5 lakh security personnel have been deployed for holding free and fair polls in 14 Lok Sabha seats in Poorvanchal area of Uttar Pradesh, which will go to polls in the sixth phase on Sunday.
The polling will be held between 0700 hrs to 1800 hrs at 29,076 booths in the state.
State Chief Electoral Officer ( CEO) Vekenteshwar Lu said here on Saturday that polling parties were being dispatched to their respective booths from this morning.
He said in view of the ongoing heat wave conditions, authorities concerned have been directed to ensure drinking water, shed and other basic facilities for the voters in the districts going to polls.
The state government has deployed over 200 companies of central forces besides PAC and district police which will provide security to all the polling booths.
To instill confidence among the voters, paramilitary forces were doing flag marches in vulnerable areas. The Election Commission has made special security arrangements in Pratapgarh, Sultanpur and Bhadoi in view of its previous history of violence during the polls.
The fate of Union Minister Maneka Gandhi (Sultanpur), Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav (Azamgarh) and UP cabinet minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi (Allahabad) will be decided in this phase.
Bhojpuri actor Dinesh Lal Yadav, alias Nirhua, is the BJP candidate against Akhilesh Yadav from Azamgarh while Congress has fielded its old war horse Dr Sanjay Singh from Sultanpur against Union minister Maneka Gandhi.
There are a total of 174 candidates in the fray in this phase. The constituencies going to polls in the sixth phase are: Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Phulpur, Allahabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Shraswati, Domariyaganj, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Lalganj, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Machhlishahr and Bhadoi.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had won all the seats of this phase except for Azamgarh where the then SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav won by defeating BJP’s Ramakant Yadav. But this time, Mulayam is contesting from Mainpuri and his son and SP president Akhilesh Yadav was contesting from the seat.
However, during the bypolls in Phulpur too, the BJP was defeated by the SP candidate.
In the sixth phase of polls, a total of 2.53 crore electorate, including 1.36 crore males and 1.17 crore females are expected to cast their votes at 29,076 booths. Of the voters, 3,63,220 are the first time voters in the age group of 18 to 19 yrs while 5,63,671 voters are above the age 80 years.
Highest of 20 candidates in the fray are in Jaunpur in the sixth phase followed by 15 each in Sultanpur, Lalganj, Azamgarh and Macchlishahr, 14 each in Phulpur and Allahabad, 12 in Bhadoi, 11 each in Ambedkarnagar and Basti, 10 in Shraswati, 8 in Pratapgarh and lowest of 7 each in Sant Kabir Nagar and Doomariaganj.
In the sixth phase, the number of criminal candidates decreased by six per cent to 21 pc with 33 per cent crorepatis.
A total of 36 or 21 per cent of the candidates declared criminal cases against themselves. Of these, 29 candidates or 17 per cent had heinous crimes against them.
Independent candidate Dhirendra Pratap Singh contesting from Shravasti has the highest number of eight criminal cases with 11 sections of IPC.
Ms Kamla Devi of Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party Lohia, contesting from Sultanpur, was on the second spot with five cases while Jansatta Dal Loktrantrik candidate Akshay Pratap Singh , cousin of Raja Bhaiyya, contesting from Pratapgarh seat is on the third place with four.
Among the crorepatis , 56 or 33 per cent candidates declared assets more than one crore each, of which 12 belonged BJP, 10 to BSP, 9 and 2 to Congress and SP respectively.
Union Minister Maneka Gandhi, BJP candidate from Sultanpur, was the richest candidate with assets of Rs 55.69 crore.
Campaigning in this crucial sixth phase of polls in 14 Lok Sabha seats of Poorvanchal in Uttar Pradesh ended on Friday evening.
The phase witnessed an electrifying campaigning by BJP and SP-BSP alliance as they left no stone unturned to woo the voters. However, heat wave conditions threw challenges at the political parties in this phase too.
BJP continued its campaigning in a big way in this phase too. PM Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, along with UP CM Yogi Adityanath and several union ministers and senior leaders, covered almost all the 14 constituencies.
The PM addressed meetings in Pratapgarh and Basti on Saturday besides holding meetings in Azamgarh, Jaunpur and Allahabad on Thursday. Mr Shah also campaigned at several constituencies, with four meetings held on Thursday.
Mr Adityanath, who camped in Varanasi, also toured the constituencies to address the election meetings along with his colleagues.
The SP-BSP alliance held joint rallies in Azamgarh and Jaunpur and organised separate campaigning in several seats.
However, Akhilesh Yadav, who is contesting from Azamgarh, skipped his last day campaigning in Azamgarh due to some technical reasons.
Congress general secretary for Uttar Pradesh (East) Priyanka Gandhi Vadra campaigned against her aunt and Union minister Maneka Gandhi in Sultanpur on Thursday by holding a roadshow besides addressing election meetings in Jaunpur and Pratapgarh in the day.
On Friday, before the campaigning ended, Ms Vadra addressed meetings at Sidharthnagar, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar and Bhadoi.