BJP candidate Smriti Irani got Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's personal assistant evacuated from Amethi after a brief spat, Rahul Gandhi toured his constituency through the day in an indication of his concern about the outcome while Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) nominee Kumar Vishwas alleged booth-capturing by Congress workers, a complaint which was later found to be baseless.
While the mood was high-strung in all the three camps, polling itself was rather sedate. Official sources said turnout in the VIP constituency was 52.2 per cent, much lower than the 55.5 overall polling in the 15 seats of eastern UP that went to polls on Wednesday. Significantly, the poll percentage in Amethi was the lowest among all these 15 seats, prompting political analysts to predict an easy win for the Gandhi scion.
"Smriti would have had a chance if polling had gone over 60 per cent. That would have reflected a vote against the incumbent (Rahul)," said editor and veteran political writer JN Shukla.
The most reported event of the day was the face-off Irani had with Priyanka's assistant, Preeti Sahay. The two women indulged in a verbal duel as the former objected to Sahay's presence at one of the booths in Jagdishpur area. Following the incident, Irani complained to the Election Commission alleging that she was trying to influence voters. District Electoral Officer Jagat Raj Tripathi said Sahay had been asked to leave Amethi immediately.
Another complaint was made by BJP from Gunnaur village in the Musafirkhana area where it alleged that some youths carrying over a lakh in cash were distributing the money among voters. "Both the boys have been detained. Though no cash was recovered, we are interrogating them," said Superintendent of Police Hira Lal.
AAP complained to the poll panel that several booths in Amethi had been captured by Congress workers. However, UP's Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha told dna that the charge was unfounded and said voting there had been conducted peacefully.
He said AAP had alleged rigging in several booths but sector magistrates who visited the booths found no untoward incidents in any place. AAP also alleged that Rahul Gandhi was moving in Amethi in a cavalcade.
"The DM and SP have informed the Commission that while Gandhi was moving in one vehicle, the others were security and escort vehicles which he is entitled to as per norms," an EC official said in Delhi.
On his part, Rahul objected to a lotus sketch on a blackboard at a polling station in Phulwa village in Tiloi and said he would draw the EC's attention to it. However, Tiloi SDM AK Singh said they had not received any complaint from Rahul.
The Congress vice president took the opportunity to hit out at BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi for dubbing his sister Priyanka's "neech rajniti" remark as an attack on his caste, saying people's actions are low, not their caste.
"Jaati nahi, karm neech hote hain (It is not caste, but one's actions that are low)," he said when asked about the controversy triggered by Priyanka's barb. "Neech soch hoti hai, gusse ki soch hoti hai, krodh ki soch hoti hai (It is ideology which is low. There is an ideology of anger).