A turnout of nearly 56% in Round 5 of the UP elections on Sunday maintained the trend of declining voter presence compared to 2017, when the same 61 assembly seats straddling 12 districts of Purvanchal and parts of Bundelkhand had clocked 58.4%. Barabanki spared the poll belt the blushes with 66.9% while Chitrakoot, once the dacoit-infested badlands of Bundelkhand, reported a voting figure of 61.3%.
Hindutva nerve centre Ayodhya was the other outlier among the 12 districts with 61%. Sangam City, in comparison, reflected voter inertia with 53.7%,marginally lower than the 2017 figure of 54%. Of the other districts, Shrawasti recorded 57%, Sultanpur 56%, Pratapgarh 52%, Rae Bareli 56%, Kaushambi 59%, Amethi 55%, Bahraich 56% and Gonda 56%.
Barring an alleged attack on the convoy of Pratapgarh’s SP candidate Gulshan Yadav in Kunda, there were no law-and-order blemishes anywhere, officials said.
The 693 candidates in the fray in this round of polls included deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya, cabinet minister Siddarth Nath Singh and six-time MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh, alias Raja Bhaiya.
The 61 constituencies that went to polls together have more than 2. 5 crore registered voters, 14,030 polling centres and 25,995 booths. With the fifth phase completed, UP has now voted for 292 of the 403 seats in the assembly. The last two phases are scheduled for March 3 and 7, respectively.
PM Modi on Sunday offered prayers at Kashi Vishwanath and drew poll strategies with booth-level cadre in Varanasi, ahead of his plan to camp in his constituency for three days from March 3.