Voting in 67 constituencies across 15 districts for the second phase of the Uttar Pradesh Elections 2017 has come to end. Voting also has ended in Uttarakhand's 69 constituencies spread across 13 districts (7 in Garhwal region and the remaining 6 in Kumaon region of the state).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati campaigned extensively for this phase.
Among the key constituencies polling today include Bijnor, Moradabad, Lakhimpur Kheri among others. The Uttar Pradesh election is considered to be a high-octane three-way contest between the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance, the BJP and BSP.
While the Samajwadi Party seeks to retain the state - albeit with the Congress this time, the BSP and BJP hope to regain power in the state after five and 13 years respectively.
The voter turnout in the first phase was recorded at 64.2 per cent - an increase of nearly three per cent from the first phase turnout in 2012.
Residents of Uttarakhand voted today to decide who will form the next government in the state. The overall voter turnout was 68%, which is 1.2% higher than the 2012 Assembly election (66.8%).
The BJP is hoping to unseat the ruling Congress government of Chief Minister Harish Rawat, which is battling corruption charges.
Out of a total of 70 constituencies, 69 have voted today and 1 constituency - Karnaprayag will vote on March 9 because of the untimely death of BSP candidate Kuldeep Singh Kanwasi, who met with a fatal accident recently.
Karnaprayag is a high profile constituency from where Deputy Speaker of the state assembly Anusuya Prasad Maikhuri is contesting. The security level across the hill state had been heightened, especially along the border with Nepal.
Anti-incumbency has always been a factor in Uttarakhand, which has voted out the government in power at the time, in successive elections since its formation.
Chief Minister Harish Rawat contested from Haridwar Rural in Garhwal against sitting BJP legislator Swami Yatishwaranand, banking on the Muslim and Dalit voters in the city that is one of the largest pilgrim centres of the country.
The BJP has accused the Congress of turning "Dev Bhoomi" Uttarakhand, meaning the land of Gods to "Loot Bhoomi" - the land of corruption.
For Chief Minister Rawat, the battle was seen as uphill and he also contested from Kichcha in Kumaon. The Congress had portrayed this as his attempt to reaffirm the party's commitment to both Kumaon and Garhwal.
His detractors saw this as a last-ditch attempt to save the party in seats where up to 12 leaders have defected, leading to instability and a loss of face for the Congress. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had urged people of Uttarakhand to come out and vote in large numbers.
A high voter turnout would indicate a change in government. In 2012, Uttarakhand saw a voter turnout of 67.22 per cent. Uttarakhand voted in a single phase. Counting of votes will take place on March 11.
Here are the updates of the second phase of the UP assembly elections 2017:
6:17 pm IST: 66 per cent voter turnout has been recorded in second phase till 5 pm. - which is the final provisional tally as voting comes to an end.
5.17 pm IST: Voting for the second phase has came to an end at 5:00 pm - as per schedule. However, those who joined the queue at 4:59 pm will be allowed to cast their vote.
4.47 pm IST: Phase 2 polling saw a higher turnout during the assembly elections in 2012. In 2012, the final turnout in Phase 2 was 65.1% as against 61.2% in Phase 1.
3.57 pm IST: Voter turnout in phase-II of Uttar Pradesh elections touches 53.2 per cent till 3 pm.
2.02 pm IST: Voter turnout in phase-II of Uttar Pradesh elections touches 41.2 per cent till 1 pm.
1.55 pm IST: Congress candidate from Nakur Imran Masood casts his vote in Saharanpur.
12.40 pm IST: Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi's 115-year-old grandfather Zurriyat Hussain Kazmi casts his Vote in Bareilly
11.41 am IST: Voter turnout in phase-II of Uttar Pradesh elections touches 24.4 per cent till 11 am.
10.39 am IST: Newly-married couple cast their vote in Bareilly.
10.03 am IST: Union Minister and senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi votes at a polling booth in Rampur.
9.53 am IST: Voter turnout in phase-II of Uttar Pradesh elections touches 10.75 per cent till 9 am.
9.05 am IST: Former Union Minister and Congress candidate from Tilhar, Jitin Prasada, votes in Shahjahanpur.