Stage set for voting in first phase poll today

  • | Saturday | 20th April, 2024

Tight security arrangements have been made for the first phase of voting in the eight Lok Sabha constituencies spread across nine districts of Uttar Pradesh on Friday. The voters of the eight Lok Sabha constituencies in western UP falling in the Jat land and sugarcane belt are set to exercise their constitutional right as polling for the first phase of the seven-phase parliamentary election begins on Friday. The constituencies going to polls on Friday are Saharanpur, Bijnor, Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, Nagina (reserved for Scheduled Castes), Moradabad, Rampur and Pilibhit. The poll campaign for the first phase ended on Wednesday evening. Chief Electoral Officer Navdeep Rinwa said here on Thursday that all arrangements were in place for peaceful, free and fair conduct of the election in the eight Lok Sabha constituencies going to polls on Friday. He said there were 80 candidates, including eight women, in the fray for these eight Lok Sabha seats DGP Prashant Kumar disclosed that to ensure peaceful, free and fair polling in these eight constituencies, one lakh jawans. 6,018 inspectors and sub-inspectors, 35,750 head constables and constables, 24,992 home guards, 60 companies of PAC and 220 companies of CAPF have been deployed for security duty. The CAPF includes BSF, CRPF, ITBP, CISF, SSB and RPF. He added that 6,764 village chowkidars and 155 PRD jawans have also been deployed on security duty. Gazetted officers and other police forces will be continuously active on general and law and order duty districts going to polls. In the first phase, voting is to be held at 1,48,49 polling stations of 7,689 polling centres in the Lok Sabha constituencies of nine districts — Saharanpur, Shamli, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Moradabad, Rampur, Bareilly and Pilibhit. A total of 248 barriers have been set up in these nine districts. Out of these, 11 barriers have been set up in the international border area of Pilibhit and 88 barriers have been set up on the interstate borders of Saharanpur, Shamli, Moradabad, Bijnor, Rampur, Muzaffarnagar and Pilibhit and continuous intensive checking is being done. Kumar informed that flying squad teams, static surveillance teams and quick response teams were keeping vigil in all the nine districts. A total of 1,824 flying squad teams, 1,470 static surveillance teams and 459 QRTs have been formed in all the districts of the state. For keeping close watch on the polling process on Friday, the poll panel has deployed eight general observers, five police observers and 10 expenditure observers. Besides these, 1,272 sector magistrates, 150 zonal magistrates, 103 static magistrates and 1,861 micro observers have also been deployed. Rinwa said 18,662 electronic voting machine (EVM) control units, 18,734 ballot control units and 19,603 VVPAT would be used for polling. He said arrangements for live webcasting had been made in 50 per cent of polling stations while videography would be done in 1,510 polling booths.  He said the polling would commence from 7 am and voters who reach the polling station by 6 pm would be allowed to cast their vote. Poll officials said that the presence of the workers of all political parties had been restricted in these constituencies with the conclusion of electioneering. According to the Election Commission of India, 1.43 crore people are eligible to cast their votes in the first phase polls. Of them, 76.23 lakh are men, 67.14 lakh women and 824 are transgenders. According to data compiled by political parties, Muslim voters account for 35 per cent to 50 per cent of the electorate in these constituencies. Twelve candidates are in the fray from Moradabad, 14 from Kairana, 11 each from Muzaffarnagar and Bijnor, 10 each from Saharanpur and Pilibhit and six each from Nagina and Rampur. The Bharatiya Janata Party has joined hands with the Rashtriya Lok Dal while the Samajwadi Party has allied with the Congress for the election. The Bahujan Samaj Party has decided to go solo. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP swept all eight seats slated for the first phase of voting, contributing to its impressive tally of 71 seats, which rose to 73 in alliance with the Apna Dal (Sonelal). However, the 2019 elections saw a shift in the political landscape, with the BJP facing setbacks against the grand alliance of SP, RLD and BSP. Out of the eight seats it won in 2014, the BJP could secure only three in 2019, marking a significant decline from its previous dominance. This loss of momentum resulted in the BJP winning 62 seats overall, a decrease of nine from the 2014 elections, as SP and BSP made significant gains in Purvanchal. The SP-BSP alliance secured victory in five out of the eight seats contested in the first phase of the 2019 elections.

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