Around 54 per cent voters exercised their franchise till 4 PM in 73 assembly constituencies in the first of the seven-phase UP polls, with some stray incidents reported from Baghpat and Meerut.
Official sources that said barring reports of election slips being snatched at some places leading to pelting of stones and clashes, polling was going on peacefully.The turnout was estimated at around 54 per cent till now, they said.
A total of 2.60 crore voters, including over 1.17 crore women and 1,508 belonging to third gender category are 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 detained by police for carrying a pistol inside a polling booth.
Gagan reached the polling booth in Sardhana Assembly seat at 9 AM. 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 is on 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 is being held on Saturday, SP and BSP had bagged 24 seats each, BJP 11, RLD nine and Congress five seats in the 2012 polls.