At close of day 5 p.m., officials said an estimated 62 per cent of the 1.7 crore had voted in 55 of 403 assembly constituencies in UP. This is a preliminary estimate and the final figures should be 3-5% higher.Even if it assumed that final figures are around 65%, as compared to Manipur, Uttarakhand and Punjab, the turnout may look moderate.
But consider this. In 2007, Mayawati rode to power on a voter turnout of a measly 47%. In fact, in the case of UP, this is a record turnout! The earlier maximum polling recorded was way back in 1993 at just under 58 per cent . Accordingly, a 65% record turnout within the UP context may signal substantial churning which should make Mayawati jittery.Very jittery.
Apparently, rain and cold failed to keep Uttar Pradesh voters away. “If records of over 60 percent turnout in the first phase of elections is any indication, then alarm bells are ringing for the incumbent chief minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) national president Mayawati’’, said Professor Ashutosh Mishra, who teaches political science at of Lucknow university.
So who will this benefit? Before the polls, this phase was billed as a battle between the BSP and the Congress. The turnout should gladen the heart of the Congress and should give them greater momentum for the remaining phases of the election.