57 % turnout in UP's fourth phase

The voter turnout in the fourth phase of Uttar Pradesh's assembly elections, across 56 constituencies, Sunday was recorded at 57 percent, the poll panel said. Sunday. The turnout Sunday was higher than the 43.84 percent polling percentage in the 2007 assembly elections, said Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi. Polling was largely peaceful, he added. Starting on a sluggish note, voting across 56 constituencies, including Lucknow, in the fourth phase of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections Sunday picked up pace through the day to end at an estimated 57 percent, officials said. Polling was peaceful. The turnout was a marked improvement over the 2007 state elections when the turnout stood at a paltry 42 percent and an all time low of 36 percent in Lucknow, where Sunday it shot up to about 55 percent.
In other key places like Rae Bareli and Amethi, the parliamentary constituencies of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi respectively, the voter turnout was also recorded at about 57 percent. Pegging the turnout at 57 percent and likely to rise, state chief electoral officer Umesh Sinha expressed his satisfaction at the voters' enthusiasm. "I am glad that voting has gone way ahead of the last election. In fact, that was the endeavour of the election commission," he said.
For the BJP, the absence of former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was pinching, specially in Lucknow, which he had represented in parliament till 2009. However, party leaders were still euphoric at their chances. "First of all I must thank the election comission whose efforts are responsible for this appreciable rise in the voter turnout today. But another important fact that cannot be ignored is that voters are coming out in larger numbers simply to express their anger against the misdeeds of the ruling BSP as well as SP, whose misgovernance they have experienced just prior to Mayawati's," former BJP president and former UP chief minister Rajnath Singh told reporters shortly after casting his vote here. "BJP is all set to get a majority in this state," said BJP's chief campaigner Uma Bharti. The Congress was also upbeat about its chances and attributed the high turnout to the efforts of Rahul Gandhi. "The higher voter turnout is all attributable to the painstaking campaign carried out Rahul Gandhi and I have reason to believe that the youth of this state is impressed by him. Therefore, the Congress is all set for a major stride and return to power in this state," said party state chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi.

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