A turnout of 57 per cent was today recorded in an incident-free fourth phase of Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls covering Rae Bareli and Amethi, strongholds of Nehru-Gandhi family, and part of backward Bundelkhand region whose development Rahul Gandhi has espoused.
Polling was held in Hardoi, Unnao, Lucknow, Rae Bareli, Farukkhabad, Kannauj, Banda, Chitrakoot, Fatehpur, Pratapgarh and CSM Nagar which includes Amethi. A combined electorate of 1.74 crore in this phase would seal the fate of 967 candidates.
While there was brisk polling in CSM Nagar and Rae Bareli, good voter turnout was also recorded in Banda and Chitrakoot infamous for dacoits.
"As per the figures reaching us, an estimated 57 per cent votes were polled for 56 seats in 11 districts as against 43.84 per cent in 2007 polls," Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha said.
Result of this phase of the seven-part polling would decide the fate of several stalwarts, including three ministers, 32 sitting MLAs, 12 former ministers, national vice-president of BJP Kalraj Mishra and Congress state president Rita Bahuguna Joshi.
Chief Minister Mayawati was among state leaders who exercised their franchise.
"Polling for the fourth phase covering 11 districts started at 7 AM amidst tight security arrangements and picked up as the day progressed," an election official said. Polling has been peaceful, he said.
Stakes are high for ruling BSP, Congress, SP and BJP in the no-holds-barred fight for the 403 assembly seats. The fourth phase has 103 candidates with criminal cases pending against them. There are also 139 'crorepatis' in the contest.
Mr Sinha said that polling was held at 18608 polling booths at 12821 centres. A total 3393 of polling booths were identified as sensitive and 3623 as hyper-sensitive, he said.
Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi said in Delhi that the overall polling percentage in the first four phases hovered around 58 per cent.
Referring to today's polling, he said, "There was no incident of violence, no disruption. There was no incident of booth capturing. Polling was totally peaceful."
He, however, said there was an incident of poll boycott in a booth in Banda district where voters refused to participate raising developmental issues," he said.