Uttar Pradesh starts voting
Uttar Pradesh starts its mammoth vote, which will take place over seven phases starting with today, 8th February and then 11th, 15th, 19th, 23rd, 28th February and 3rd March.
Uttar Pradesh is the largest of the five states to vote in the 2012 state elections with an electorate of 111,916,689.
In this first phase, 17 million people will vote across 10 districts – Sitapur, Barabanki, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Bahraich, Shravasti, Balrampur, Gonda, Siddharth Nagar and Basti for 55 of the 403 assembly seats. Polls opened at 7 a.m. local time.
Across this northern state there are 128,112 polling stations.
There are four key parties standing in the election, the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi Party (SP), Indian National Congress (INC) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). A smaller new party, the Peace Party, may well win seats and is seen as a potential problem for any winning party.
The result is expected to be close and analysts will be watching closely to see how Congress performs in this and the other four states voting, with results being announced on 6th March.