Election fever grips Agra

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 27, 2012 05:28 hrs

Agra: With campaigning formally ending Sunday evening, candidates in the 68 Uttar Pradesh constituencies in 13 districts of Agra, Meerut and Aligarh are going house to house to seek votes.

The region goes to the polls in the sixth and penultimate phase of polling on Tuesday to pick a 403-seat Uttar Pradesh assembly.

Agra District Magistrate Ajay Chauhan clarified that legally candidates can't hold public meetings in the 48 hours before balloting. Violators can be fined and imprisoned up to two years, he said.

Ahead of the sixth round, scores of Bollywood personalities descended on the politically volatile Braj area, made up of Aligarh and Agra divisions (40 seats).

The region saw a high-decibel war of words as leaders of all political parties pitched in with all their resources to win the favour of a highly charged electorate.

The high voting percentage in the state so far has left election managers and strategists confused and guessing which way the political wind is blowing.

"No party is relaxed or taking things for granted even after five rounds. This election is so different, thanks to the pro-active role of the Election Commission which has not shown any leniency or allowed leeway for any party," political commentator Paras Nath Choudhary said.

"One can discern voters' confidence restored and the democratic system infused with a degree of urgency and increased level of involvement in the process," he added.

All parties have been talking of development and change. The leaders have also been urging the people to come out and vote.

"In Agra schools have promised extra marks to children if their parents vote. A doctors' association has promised to cut fees for a fortnight for voters," said social activist Sudheir Gupta.

"The media outfits too have organised a series of programmes to motivate people to vote.

"All these have had a salutary effect," he said. "One hopes Agra will set a new record of voting percentage Tuesday."

In Agra, 28 political parties are in the fray including the Kerala State Muslim League, Trinmool Congress, Bundelkhand Congress and Labour Party.

The Congress-RLD alliance has high hopes from Agra and Aligarh divisions, together called Braj Prant with 40 seats, due to the Jat presence.

The ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) too is equally strong on this turf, called the Dalit capital of north India.

The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is hoping for a miracle because it expects that minority votes will be split up among Congress, Samajwadi Party and BSP.

The district authorities have said there will be no restrictions on movement of vehicles for voters Tuesday. This should help raise the voting percentage.

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