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Rediff.com  » Election » UP: Naxal-prone areas remain incident free with highest turnout

UP: Naxal-prone areas remain incident free with highest turnout

April 16, 2009 21:11 IST
Heavy turnout of voters and peaceful conduct of the polls in Uttar Pradesh's Naxal-prone areas has not only sprung surprise but also come in sharp contrast to large-scale violence that was witnessed during Thursday's first phase Lok Sabha polling in certain other Naxalite-affected pockets of the country.

Chandauli, Mirzapur and Robertsganj parliamentary constituencies that were listed as the state's worst 'Naxalite affected areas,' recorded the highest turnout touching 50 per cent.

The Election Commission had not only sounded a red-alert in these constituencies sharing borders with Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, but also enhanced the security deployment to unprecedented levels.

UP's ace cop Brij Lal, holding the key charge of additional director general (law and order) had personally flown down to each of these districts a couple of days ahead of the poll, to chart out a special security plan to keep the Naxals in check. Surely, his strategy had borne results.

Meanwhile, the overall turnout during the first round of poll remained low at just about 48 per cent. While Chandauli and Mirzapur witnessed the highest turnout, followed by Robertsganj, Kushinagar and Gorakhpur where it stood close to 49 per cent, the lowest polling was recorded in Salempur and Bansgaon, where it remained just about 42 per cent.

Barring sporadic incidents of minor scuffles and clashes in Maharajganj, Deoria and Mirzapur, no major violence was reported from any of the 16 Lok Sabha constituencies that went to poll on Thursday in UP.

"Polling commenced sharp at 7 am in each of the 26,279 polling stations spread across 13 districts of Eastern Uttar Pradesh and continued until 5 pm," UP's Chief Electoral Officer A L Bishnoi told media persons in Lucknow.

"Of the 90 complaints received by the Election Commission, barely 30 - 40 complaints merited attention, though these too related only to minor disturbances in the election process, which necessitated arrest of only a single person," he said.

Describing the first round of polling as "peaceful, smooth and trouble-free", he said, "No re-poll was ordered anywhere so far." However, he was still keeping his fingers crossed "until the final reports reached the state headquarters from each of the remote polling stations, which sometimes gets delayed on some account."

Bishnoi, however, pointed out, "But none of the observers had given any such indication."

"This was the first time when every polling station in each parliamentary constituency was directly connected through one or the other telecommunication system," Bishnoi added.

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow