Nearly 44% of the voters have cast their vote by 2 PM in the third phase of the UP assembly polls. The third phase polls will decide the fate of 69 assembly constituencies spread across 12 districts – Farrukhabad, Mainpuri, Etawah, Hardoi, Kannauj, Kanpur rural, Kanpur city, Unnao, Lucknow, Barabanki, Auraiyya and Sitapur. The total number of eligible voters is 2.41 crore, of which, 1.31 crore are men and 1.1 crore women. There are 1,026 voters from the third gender category also. Polling for the third phase had begun at 7 AM with 826 contestants in the fray.
The third phase of UP polls is being considered a litmus test for the Samajwadi Party (SP), since these districts are considered a stronghold of the party. In the 2012 assembly elections, SP had won 55 of the 69 seats in these districts. Some of the leading politicians who are contesting include Vijay Bahadur Pal, Rajeev Kumar Singh, Fareed Mehfooz Kidwai, Abhishek Mishra, Nitin Agarwal, Narendra Verma, and Shivpal Singh Yadav. One of the most keenly watched contests is for the Lucknow Cantonment constituency, where the fight is between Aparna Yadav and Rita Bahuguna Joshi.
To ensure trouble free polls, the Election Commission has ordered the deployment of more than 83,000 central paramilitary forces. More than 60 observers and over 4,500 micro-observers have also been appointed to ensure free and fair elections.