Polling began on Thursday morning for 12 Lok Sabha seats in the third phase of the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh to decide the political future of 188 candidates, including Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and Union Minister Salman Khurshid.
"The polling has started at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm. The polling has started on a peaceful note," Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha said.
The 12 constituencies where polling is going on include: Hathras, Mathura, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etah, Hardoi, Farukhabad, Etawah, Kannauj and Akbarpur. Uttar Pradesh has the largest share of Lok Sabha seats, and sends 80 representatives to the parliament.
The Election Commission has put up 21,990 polling centres and deployed 1.09 lakh employees for the voting exercise. Around 20 million (2.03 crore) electors are eligible to vote.
While maximum number of 28 candidates are in fray from Fatehpur Sikri, only nine candidates are contesting in Hathras.
The focus will on the Yadav family as the SP chief is fighting to retain his traditional Mainpuri seat while his daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav would be facing a challenge to retain Kannauj. Mulayam's nephew and son of SP national general secretary Ram Gopal, Akshay Yadav is in the electoral fray for the first time from Firozabad.
Two more political families that of former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh and BJP leader and former UP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh are also set to test their hold in their respective areas.
In the Mathura seat, Hema Malini banking on the 'Modi wave' is pitted against Jayant Chaudhary, grandson of Chaudhary Charan Singh and son of RLD chief Ajit Singh. Once considered a key person in SP, Amar Singh has entered the electoral battle for the first time from Fatehpur. He is contesting on RLD ticket with the support of Congress.
Though Kalyan Singh is not in fray this time from Etah, his son Rajveer's future is at stake in the same seat. Last time Kalyan won from Etah seat as an independent candidate. In Farukkhabad, Union Minister Khurshid is faced with the challenge of retaining his seat.
BJP and BSP are contesting on all 12 seats, whereas Congress has not fielded candidates against Mulayam and Dimple.
In the 2009 elections SP won 4 seats, Congress 3, RLD 2, BSP and BJP one each.