Brisk balloting took place Monday in Uttar Pradesh's 18 parliamentary seats as a controversy broke out in Varanasi where Congress candidate Ajay Rai walked into a polling station with the party symbol pinned to his kurta.
Polling in 18 parliamentary constituencies is underway peacefully, officials said. There were complaints of some technical glitches in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). A large turnout has been reported from most places, a poll panel official said.
On an average 10.38% voting has been reported from the 18 constituencies that are balloting Monday. In Varanasi, from where BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narenda Modi is pitted against Aam Aadmi Party's Arvind Kejriwal, 18% voting was reported till 10 am.
A controversy broke out in Varanasi when Ajay Rai, Congress candidate, walked into a polling station to vote with the party symbol tucked on his kurta. Election law bans the use of any party symbol within 100 metres of the poll station. Officials in the district say the Congress candidate had indeed violated the law.
He was accompanied by his wife and he spoke to reporters within 10 metres of the polling station, which again is a breach of law. Senior district officials told IANS that the returning officer has sought video footage and that action would follow soon.
At Dumariyaganj, voting till 9 am was 11.56%, Maharajganj 11.60%, Gorakhpur 11.80% and 10.60% in Kushinagar. In Deoria, where BJP's senior leader Kalraj Mishra is contesting the polls, 11.60% people have cast their votes till 9 am In Basgaon, the polling percentage in the first two hours was 10.90%, 10% in Lalganj and 9.20% in Ghosi.
In Salempur, the voting percentage was 9 while it was 10.36% in Ballia. It was 10.20% voter turnout in Jaunpur from where Bhojpuri film star Ravi Kishen is contesting on a Congress ticket. The slowest polling was recorded from Azamgarh, the seat from where Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav is pitted against BJP's Ramakant Yadav.