Shilpa C, Student, Apeejay Institute of Mass Communication

Polling for the first phase of high-voltage Uttar Pradesh assembly elections on Wednesday recorded 62 per cent turnout on an incident-free day after a sluggish start due to rain, with Mayawati‘s ruling BSP facing a tough challenge from the Congress, the BJP and the SP.After an initial lull, polling picked up quickly after midday as the weather cleared with over 62 per cent of the 1.7 crore-strong electorate, which included 70 lakh women exercising its franchise, state election officials said. “62 per cent turnout registered in first phase of assembly polls in UP,” said Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha

Polling was held in 55 constituencies spread over 10 districts – Sitapur, Barabanki, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Bahraich, Shravasti, Balrampur, Gonda, Siddharth Nagar and Basti amidst tight security arrangements. The candidates include 796 men, 65 women and one eunuch. The remaining phases of polling will be held on February 11, 15, 19, 23, 28 and March 3. Counting of votes will take place on March 6.