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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Polling begins for 8 LS seats in UP amid tight security

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Lucknow: Polling began for eight parliamentary constituencies spread over nine districts of Uttar Pradesh in the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections amidst tight security arrangements on Friday, poll officials said here.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of UP, Navdeep Rinwa, said that the polling, which began at 7 am will continue till 6 pm. “Eight constituencies where polling is being held include Amroha, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Bulnadshahr, Aligarh, and Mathura. While seven seats are of general category, Bulandshahr has been reserved for the Scheduled Caste (SC),” he said.

He said that these 8 Lok Sabha constituencies in the second phase are spread over nine districts, including, Amroha, Hapur, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Bulandshahr, Aligarh and Mathura.

Rinwa said that more than 1.67 crore votes, including 90.26 lakh male and 77.50 lakh female, are eligible to decide the fate of 91 candidates, including 10 female, in the second phase. He said that while maximum 15 candidates each are in fray from Gautam Buddha Nagar and Mathura seat, minimum 6 candidates are contesting in Bulandshahr district in the second phase.

He said that polling will be held at 17,704 polling booths spread over 7,797 polling centres.

“3,472 polling booths have been identified as critical,” he said.

The CEO said that to maintain a close vigil on the poll process 3 special observers, 8 general observers, 5 police observers and 12 expenditure observers have been deployed.

“In Addition to this 1,451 sector magistrates, 190 zonal magistrates, 222 static magistrates and 1,500 micro observers have also been deployed,” he said.

He said that for smooth polling 17,230 control units of electronic voting machines, 17,331 ballot units and 17,443 VVPAT have been prepared. Public holiday has been declared in the district where polling is being held.

Meanwhile, police sources said that 6,841 Inspectors and Sub Inspectors, 39,642 head constables and constables, 28,784 Home Guards, 60 companies of PAC, and 239 companies of CAPF have been deployed on poll duty. “As a force multiplier, 5,066 village chowkidars and 105 PRD jawans have also been deployed,” they said.

Police sources said that 79 barriers have been set up on the inter-state borders in the nine districts that will go to poll in the second phase in the districts where continuous checking is being done. Continuous monitoring and vigilance are being maintained by installing additional CCTV cameras.

Police sources said that 251 flying squad teams, 288 static surveillance teams and 32 QRT teams have been constituted, which are maintaining continuous vigil and checking. “1,878 flying squad teams, 1,548 static surveillance teams and 428 QRT teams have been constituted in all the districts of the state,” they said.

It may be noted that the first phase, second phase of Lok Sabha polls in UP is equally crucial for all the political parties, including ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, INDI alliance of Samajwadi Party (SP), Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

The most interesting contest is going on in the Meerut seat where ‘Ram’ of popular television serial ‘Ramayan’ Arun Govil is facing a challenge from Devvrat Kumar Tyagi of BSP and former mayor Sunita Verma of SP. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a rally in support of the BJP candidate, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath campaigned extensively in support of Arun Govil.

It may be mentioned that since 2009 Meerut is considered to be a stronghold of BJP being represented by Rajendra Kumar Agarwal. This time the party has declined a ticket to Agarwal.

Film actress and sitting MP Hema Malini is seeking re-election from Mathura for the third consecutive term. She is being challenged by Mukesh Dhangar of the Congress and Suresh Singh of BSP. But internal differences between the workers of all three parties have made things difficult for all three candidates, leading to a triangular contest for this seat.

Another seat that is witnessing an interesting contest is Amroha. Here, sitting MP and Congress candidate Kunwar Danish Ali is pitched against former MP and BJP nominee Kanwar Singh Tanwar.

Danish Ali, who won the last Lok Sabha polls on the BSP ticket, switched loyalty just before the elections and joined Congress. During an election rally in Amroha, BSP supremo Mayawati termed Danish Ali as ‘betrayer’. The party has given the ticket to another Muslim face, Mujahid Ali, this time.

In Ghaziabad, which had been represented by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and current Union Minister General (retired) VK Singh since the parliamentary constituency was set up in 2009, the BJP has fielded sitting MLA Atul Garg. He is being challenged by Congress nominee Dolly Sharma.

Dolly Sharma contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls on a Congress ticket, but she lost and was placed in the third position. Here, the BSP has fielded Nand Kishore Pundir as its candidate.

The newly found alliance between the ruling BJP and Jayant Chaudhary led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) has been put to the test on Baghpat seat. As a part of seat sharing, the BJP, which had won from here twice for consecutive terms, has given this seat to RLD.

In fact, BJP’s MP from Baghpat, Satya Pal Singh, defeated RLD chief Jayant in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls by a margin of more than 10,000 votes. This time, RLD’s Rajkaumar Sangwan is contesting from this seat as an NDA candidate. Baghpat Sangwan is being challenged by Amarpal Sharma of SP and Praveen Bainsla of BSP.

Like Hema Malini, BJP’s sitting MP Mahesh Sharma is seeking re-election for the third consecutive term from Gautam Buddha Nagar. It is being said that sailing has been smooth for Sharma against Dr Mahendra Singh Nagar of SP and Rajendra Singh Solanki as all five assembly seats were won by the BJP candidates in the 2022 polls, turning Gautam Buddha Nagar into a stronghold of the saffron brigade.

In Aligarh, the BJP has repeated two times sitting MP Satish Kumar Gautam against Brijendra Singh of the SP and Hitendra Kumar alias Bunty Upadhyay of BSP. On the Bulandshahr seat BJP has reposed faith in two time sitting MP Bhola Singh.

Barring 2009, BJP has never lost Bulandshahr Lok Sabha seat. In fact this seat was represented by former UP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh after he won the election in 2004.

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