Lucknow, Feb 11 - Polling began today on a slow note for the second phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections for 59 seats in 10 districts that will decide the fate of two state presidents, 31 MLAs and 24 former ministers.
More than 1.92 crore voters are expected to cast their votes to seal the fate of 1,098 candidates in the polling to be held in Sant Kabir Nagar, Maharajganj, Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Deoria, Azamgarh, Mau, Ballia and Ghazipur, Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha said here.
Stakes are high for ruling BSP, Congress, SP and the BJP in the no-holds-barred fight for the 403 Assembly seats in the seven-phase polls.
The voters will exercise their franchise at 20,425 polling booths at 12,995 polling centres.
While 3,265 polling booths have been identified as sensitive and 9,971 as hyper sensitive for which adequate force has been deployed, he said.
Total 1098 candidates are in fray, including 1,021 men and 76 women.
The second phase would seal the fate of many senior leaders, including speaker Sukhdeo Rajbhar, Revenue Minister Phagu Chauhan, state presidents of BSP and BJP, deputy leader of SP Ambika Chaudhary, 31 MLAs and 24 former ministers.
Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rajbhar is in fray as BSP candidate from newly-created Deedarganj seat in Azamgarh district, whereas deputy leader of SP in Assembly Ambika Chaudhary is seeking re-run from Phephna in Ballia.
Prestige of state presidents of BSP and BJP is also at the stake in this phase.
While BSP state president and cabinet minister Swami Prasad Maurya is contesting from Padrauna seat in Kushinagar, BJP state president Surya Pratap Shahi is trying his luck from newly-created Pathardeva seat in Deoria district. PTI