LUCKNOW/NEW DELHI: 64.22 per cent of voters exercised their franchise in 73 assembly constituencies in the first of the seven-phase UP polls, the Election Commission said.
According to Chief Electoral Officer T Venkatesh, 3,888 digital and video cameras were used and webcasting was done in 2,857 places for the first phase of polling.
2,96,906 troublemakers were identified and preventive actions were taken against them, the EC said.
Rs 19.56 crore cash, 4.44 lakh litre of liquor worth Rs 14 crore and drugs worth Rs 96.93 lakh, gold and silver worth Rs 14 crore were seized in first phase, the poll panel said.
Official sources that said barring reports of election slips being snatched at some places leading to pelting of stones and clashes, polling was peaceful.
Some stray incidents were reported from Baghpat and Meerut.
The first phase witnessed a three per cent rise in voter turnout. In the same phase in 2012, voter turnout covering these assembly constituencies was 61 per cent.
Etah recorded 73 per cent turnout, Muzaffarnagar 65 per cent, Bulandshahr 64 per cent, Noida 60 per cent and Ghaziabad 57 per cent, T Venkatesh said.
A total of 2.60 crore voters, including over 1.17 crore women and 1,508 belonging to third gender category were eligible to cast their ballot to decide the fate of 839 candidates.
A report from Baghpat said that members of different communities clashed in Baghu colony in the city when one side tried stop the other from casting their votes.
In the clash, ten persons were injured and admitted to hospital, police said.
In another incident in Baghpat, Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) workers obstructed Dalit voters from casting their vote in Looyan village under Badaut area, leading to clash and FIR was lodged against three party workers.
In Meerut, controversial BJP leader Sangeet Som’s brother Gagan Som was
Gagan reached the polling booth in Sardhana assembly seat at 9am. The security personnel deployed there frisked him and found a pistol in his possession. He was immediately detained, police said.
Officials said that as per the poll code, those possessing licensed weapons are required to deposit them with the police. The permission to keep arms is granted in special cases only.
Sangeet is the sitting MLA from Sardhana and had shot to limelight for his controversial speeches during the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots.
The first phase of polling will decide the electoral fortunes of son of home minister Rajnath Singh, Pankaj Singh (from Noida), Congress legislature party leader Pradeep Mathur (Mathura) against whom BJP spokesman Srikant Sharma is in the fray, daughter of BJP MP Hukum Singh Mriganka Singh (Kairana), and controversial BJP MLAs Sangeet Som and Suresh Rana from Sardhana and Thanabhawan respectively.
Former BJP state president Lakshmikant Bajpai (Meerut), RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s son-in-law Rahul Singh (SP) from Sikandarabad, and Sandeep Singh, grandson of Rajasthan Govenor Kalyan Singh from Atrauli are among other key figures in this phase.
The districts where polling was held in this phase are Hapur, Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Mathura, Hathras, Agra, Firozabad, Etah and Kasganj.
In the 73 constituencies where polling was held today, SP and BSP had bagged 24 seats each, BJP 11, RLD nine and Congress five seats in the 2012 polls.