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India's Uttar Pradesh state starts legislative polls

(Xinhua)

10:55, February 08, 2012

NEW DELHI, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh will hold the first phase of a five-phase local legislative elections Wednesday, said electoral officials.

The ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)-led Mayawati government will see strong contest from the Congress party as over 17 million voters, 7.8 million of them women, are due to exercise their franchise to elect 55 lawmakers in 10 districts.

Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state of India, has a total of 403 assembly segments or constituencies with 862 candidates, including 65 women, in the fray in all five phases of election.

The candidates in this phase include two state ministers, 31 members of Legislative Assemblies and 15 former ministers.

Election Commission has set up 18,108 polling stations in 10 districts in the first phase of the vote. As many as 72,000 polling personnel will be on duty while about 200,000 police personnel, including 680 companies of the paramilitary forces, would be on poll duty.

The BSP and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have their nominees in all the 55 constituencies and the Congress in 54.

Since some constituencies have international border with Nepal, the borders have been sealed during the polls.

The BSP now holds 30 seats, the Samajwadi Party 18, the BJP four and the Congress three seats.

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