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Gorakhpur, Phulpur LS by-polls: Voting gathers momentum, 20 pc turnout till noon

SNS | New Delhi |

Beginning on a dull note Sunday amid tight security arrangements, voting gradually picked by noon in the by-elections to Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats.

According to election office sources, nearly 20 per cent of the electorate cast their ballots by mid-day and the exercise was going on peacefully.

The bypolls were necessitated after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya vacated the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats, respectively following their election to the state legislative council.

After casting his vote in Gorakhpur, Adityanath said the BJP was getting widespread support from the people.

While attacking the BSP and the SP, the chief minister said, “These parties are indulging in negative politics, politics of bargaining and politics of opportunism. The state has suffered the negative consequences (of SP and BSP).”

“And in order to ensure that in future such situations do not arise, efforts have to be made to shun politics of casteism and dynastic politics, and focus on development and administration,” he said.

Earlier, Adityanath had termed the bypolls as a rehearsal for the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the by-elections are witnessing a triangular contest involving the ruling BJP, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress.

The saffron party has fielded Kaushalendra Singh Patel from Phulpur and Upendra Dutt Shukla from Gorakhpur against the SP’s Pravin Nishad and Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel, respectively. The Congress has nominated Sureetha Kareem for Gorakhpur and Manish Mishra for Phulpur Lok Sabha seat.

Ten candidates are in the fray from Gorakhpur, while 22 candidates are contesting from Phulpur.

Apart from the Provincial Armed Constabulary and homeguards, 65 companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed to ensure peaceful by-polls.

In Gorakhpur parliamentary constituency, there are 970 polling centres and 2,141 polling booths, while in Phulpur, there are 793 polling centres and 2,059 polling booths.

According to the Election Commission, there 19.61 lakh voters in Phulpur parliamentary constituency, while there are 19.49 lakh electorate for Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat.

As many as 4,728 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines are being used in the bypoll and provisions for webcasting from 95 critical booths have been made.

Gorakhpur is significant for the BJP as it is the bastion of the chief minister, who represented the seat in the Lok Sabha five times. Prior to Yogi Adityanath, the seat was represented in Parliament by his mentor Yogi Avaidyanath thrice.

Phulpur, once represented by India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, witnessed a saffron surge in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and Maurya won there.

The results will be declared on 14 March.

(With agency inputs)