Reason behind lower than expected turnout in the high-stakes polls in the country’s electorally most significant state was said to be a lack of enthusiasm among voters
Lucknow: Forty three per cent voters cast their mandate in the Gorakhpur parliamentary constituency on Sunday while Phulpur recorded an even lesser 37.39 per cent turnout as the crucial bypolls to the two Lok Sabha seats were held peacefully, the state election office said.
Polling began at 7am and passed off peacefully at 5pm, the state election office said.
“Gorakhpur recorded a turnout of 43 per cent and Phulpur 37.39 per cent,” it added.
There were complaints of EVM malfunctioning at a few booths, but the machines were promptly replaced without affecting the polling, an election official said here.
The reason behind the lower than expected turnout in the high-stakes polls in the country’s electorally most significant state was said to be a lack of enthusiasm among voters who are now looking forward to the general elections which are barely a year away.
Tight security arrangements were in place to ensure free and fair polling. Apart from the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and homeguard jawans, 65 companies of central paramilitary forces were deployed to ensure peaceful bypolls.
The bypolls were necessitated after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya vacated their Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats after getting elected to the state legislative council.
After casting his vote in Gorakhpur, Adityanath said the BJP was getting widespread support.
“The people know that development is the only panacea,” he told reporters there.
Attacking the BSP and the SP, he said, “These parties are indulging in negative politics, politics of bargaining and politics of opportunism. The state has suffered the negative consequences because of this. To ensure that in future such a situation does not arise, efforts have to be made to shun politics of casteism and dynastic politics, and the focus should be on development and administration.”
Asked about the SP and BSP entering an electoral understanding, Adityanath said it would have no effect on the outcome of the polls.
“If the SP, BSP and Congress had fought together, then results would have been much better for us,” he said.
Termed by Adityanath as a “rehearsal” for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the bye-polls 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.
Gorakhpur is significant for the BJP as it is the bastion of the chief minister, who represented the seat Lok Sabha five times. Before Adityanath, the seat was represented in parliament by his mentor Yogi Avaidyanath thrice.
Phulpur, once represented by the country’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, witnessed a saffron surge in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as Maurya won there.