Voting underway for Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Goa today
Voting to elect the representatives of state assemblies in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Goa began on Monday morning. While 55 constituencies of UP went to the polls in the second phase, the other two states are holding elections in a single phase. All three states are presently ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power at the Centre.
Voting ongoing across 9 UP districts
In UP, voting is being held across nine districts. Prominent candidates contesting in this phase include the Opposition Samajwadi Party's Azam Khan and Dharam Singh Saini as well as the state's Finance Minister Suresh Khanna. In the 2017 polls, the BJP had won 38 of the 55 seats, SP bagged 15, and the Congress took two.
Azam Khan contesting from behind bars
Azam Khan, the SP leader who has been fielded from his stronghold Rampur seat, is contesting the elections from prison. His son, Abdullah Azam, is contesting from Suar against Haider Ali Khan. Haider Ali, the grandson of former MP Noor Bano, has been given a ticket by Apna Dal (Sonelal) and is the only Muslim candidate fielded by the BJP-led alliance in UP elections.
Political scenario in Uttarakhand
In Uttarakhand, there has been political turbulence as the state saw three different Chief Ministers from the BJP during a single five-year tenure. On Monday, key candidates include Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, sitting minister Dhan Singh Rawat, and former CM Harish Rawat, among others. In the hill state, no party has managed to win back-to-back assembly elections.
Goa's multifaceted contest
Residents of Goa are voting to elect the 40 members of the state assembly. Besides the BJP and Congress, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party and West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress are also in the fray. Utpal Parrikar, the son of former Goa CM Manohar Parrikar, is contesting from capital Panaji as an independent candidate after ditching the BJP.
Voter turnout numbers until 9 am
As far as the voter turnout is concerned, Goa recorded it at 11.04% until 9 am. The figures for UP and Uttarakhand stood at 9.45% and 5.15%. Voting in UP and Goa had started at 7 am while Uttarakhand residents had started voting at 8 am. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged people to vote "in record numbers and strengthen the festival of democracy."