Amid tight security, polling began on Monday morning in 51 Assembly constituencies of U P spread across 11 districts that figuring in the fifth phase, with all eyes on Amethi.
Prominent contestants in this phase include controversial minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati (SP), who will be contesting against Amita Singh (Congress) and Garima Singh (BJP) in Amethi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Rahul Gandhi.Amita is wife of Congress leader Sanjay Singh, while Garima is his estranged spouse.
The districts going to polls in this phase are Balrampur, Gonda, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Bahraich, Shravasti, Basti, Siddharth Nagar, Sant Kabir Nagar, Amethi and Sultanpur.
Due to death of Samajwadi Party candidate Chandrashekhar Kanaujia in Alapur (Ambedkar Nagar), the EC announced a fresh date for voting in this constituency on 9 March.
The ruling Samajwadi Party won 37 seats out of 52 (total seats in this phase including Alapur) in 2012. While BJP and Congress won five seats each, BSP won three and Peace Party two.
In all, 607 candidates are in the fray with as many as 24 candidates in Amethi and minimum of six each in Kapilvastu and Etwa seats in Siddharth Nagar district.
Over 1.81 crore voters, including over about 84 lakh women, will decide the fate of ministers various from Ayodhya and BSP state president in this phase.
Maximum number of 4,38,106 voters are in Mehdawal (Sant Kabir Nagar), while minimum 3,04934 voters are in Tanta (Ambedkarnagar).
There are over 12,555 polling centres and 18,822 polling booths in this phase. The turnout in these constituencies in 2012 was close to 60 percent.
For conducting free and fair polls, 1,442 sector magistrates, 180 zonal magistrates and 170 static magistrate are being deployed besides police and general observers.
Gonda is close to Nepal and so are Bahraich, Shravasti, Balrampur and Sidhharth Nagar districts, near the Terai region in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Central forces are on high alert in these areas to ensure that no mischief makers sneaks into Indian territory or escape after committing any crime.
In his Gonda speech , the PM had referred to the Kanpur train tragedy in which 150 people were killed and said it occurred due to a ‘conspiracy’ hatched in Pakistan.