Lucknow:  Nearly 59 percent of 1.92 crore voters on Saturday exercised their franchise for 59 seats spread over nine districts in the by-and-large peaceful second phase of the fiercely-fought Uttar Pradesh assembly election.

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The fate of 1,098 candidates, including two state party chiefs, 31 MLAs and 24 former ministers was sealed in the Electronic Voting Machines in Saturday's exercise.

Polling for the second round, in which 59 assembly seats were up for grabs, was generally peaceful in Sant Kabir Nagar, Maharajganj, Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Deoria, Azamgarh, Mau, Ballia and Ghazipur districts.
"An estimated 59 percent electorate cast votes in the second round," state Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha told reporters here.

"The polling was generally peaceful," he said adding Kushinagar district recorded the highest 63 percent voting and Deoriya and Ballia 54 percent each, the lowest, in round two.

Ruling BSP, Congress, SP and BJP pulled out all the stops to woo voters in the no-holds-barred fight for the 403-seat House in the politically-crucial state.

The first phase had recorded around 63 percent polling in 55 constituencies in nine districts.

In New Delhi, Deputy Election Commissioner Alok Shukla said "these constituencies witnessed a turnout of 43.41 percent in the 2007 assembly election."

He said a polling officer in Gorakhpur died after he suffered brain haemorrhage.

Residents of village Chacheri in Khalilabad constituency in Sant Kabir Nagar district boycotted the polling protesting lack of development in their area, Shukla said.

Polling began amid tight security on a dull note but picked up as the day advanced.

Barring a couple of incidents, the polling passed off peacefully, state CEO and police said.

In Dakshin Tola area in Mau district, police used force to disperse voters who indulged in unruly behaviour outside a polling station.

Police also used force in Mahaveer Akhara hamlet in Rasra area in Ballia district after some locals indulged in slogan-shouting.

Speaker Sukhdeo Rajbhar, Revenue minister Phagu Chauhan, BSP state chief and Cabinet minister Swami Prasad Maurya and state BJP head Surya Pratap Shahi were among the notable candidates whose fate was sealed in the EVMs.

Ghazipur witnessed 61 percent polling, Azamgarh and Maharajganj 60 percent each and Sant Kabir Nagar 56, the state Chief Electoral Officer said.

"As compared to the last election when 43.4 percent votes were polled in these constituencies, there has been an increase of 36 percent in the turnout this time," he said.

Complaints of voters who were not able to exercise their franchise were receieved from Gorakhpur and Deoria districts, Sinha said adding these would be looked into.

At Hathiya booth in Azamgarh, over 1200 voters boycotted the election to protest what, they said, non-construction of a bridge.

In Ghazipur, more than 650 voters boycotted the polling in Matsar Mara village, falling under Jamania seat, to protest lack of development, the state CEO said.