Lucknow, May 12 IANS | 7 months ago

Hundreds and thousands braved the summer heat and voted Monday in 18 Lok Sabha constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, with a high turnout reported in Varanasi where BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is being challenged by AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal and Ajay Rai of the Congress.

The turnout in the first four hours was around 25 percent, officials said here.

Voting in Deoria, from where Kalraj Mishra of the Bharatiya Janata Party is contesting, was the highest at 25.4 percent.

The balloting was peaceful. In Peeli Kothi area of Varanasi, however, furious residents took to the streets after finding their names missing from the voters' list. Police used force to disperse them.

The Rapid Action Force was called in to handle the situation.

By 11 a.m., four hours after the polling began, over 22 percent of the electorate had voted in the high-profile constituency of Varanasi.

Some people complained of slow movement of the voters' queues and accused the district officials of favouring the ruling Samajwadi Party.

Former Delhi chief minister Kejriwal met his supporters at various places and visited some polling booths.

He shook hands with BJP workers as his forehead was smeared with 'chandan' at Maimoorganj.

Some Congress supporters mocked at him and called him a "tourist".

There was 23 percent voting in Azamgarh, from where Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav is contesting, in the first four hours. He is facing BJP's incumbent MP Ramakant Yadav.

Voting also took place in Mirzapur, Jaunpur, Gorakhpur, Domariyaganj, Robertsganj, Ghazipur, Machhlishahr, Salempur, Lalganj, Ballia, Ghosi, Bansgaon, Deoria, Kushi Nagar and Maharajganj.

Among other prominent candidates are Jagdambika Pal of the BJP (Domariyaganj), Mukhtar Ansari of the Quami Ekta Dal (Ghosi) and R.P.N. Singh of the Congress (Kushi Nagar).

In Chandauli, voters complained that laptops used for webcasting of polling bore the picture of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav -- in violation of electoral laws.

The laptops were removed immediately by the Election Commission.

(Posted on 12-05-2014)

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