LUCKNOW: The seventh and the final phase of Uttar Pradesh polls concluded on Wednesday with 60 per cent of the total electorate exercising their franchise to seal the fate of 535 candidates across seven districts of Purvanchal.
The turnout saw a jump of over 2 per cent compared to the 2012 Assembly elections when the figure stood at 57.92%. The seventh phase also saw a three per cent jump compared to the previous sixth phase in which 57.03 per cent voting was recorded.
The polling percentage in the final phase of the seven-phased Assembly election was also much higher than the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when the said Assembly segments had recorded 55.36% voting. While Chandauli district recorded the highest turnout at 63.78 per cent, Bhadohi logged the lowest at 57.90 per cent.
The Election Commission said some voters were still waiting in queue at 5 pm when polling came to an end.
With all eyes set on the eight Assembly segments of Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Parliamentary constituency, 61.7 per cent voters—over four percent than the previous 2012 Assembly election-turned up to cast their vote in the holy city. In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Varanasi had seen a turnout of 58.30 per cent.
Despite being the smallest phase in terms of size, the caste dynamics and its geography has made it crucial for all the parties. The seventh phase comprised a total electorate of 1.41 crore of which 76 lakh were male and 65 lakh were female voters.
The phase also saw voting in three Naxal-infested districts-Sonbhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli. Two constituencies of Sonbhadra—Duddhi and Obra—were the first to be reserved for scheduled tribes.
In view of the domination of most backward castes in the districts which went to the polls in seventh phase, small caste-specific parties remained significant players. The BJP had contested only 32 out of the 40 seats and it had given four seats each to allies Apna Dal and the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, which are popular among the Kurmis and the Rajbhars respectively.