Brief respite for poll officials before counting

After conducting one of the biggest assembly poll exercises in India, poll officials spent a relaxed Sunday.

Lucknow: After conducting one of the biggest assembly poll exercises in India - an election spread across seven phases over a month with 12.73 crore voters casting their ballots for Uttar Pradesh`s 403 assembly seats, poll officials spent a relaxed Sunday ahead of counting March 6.
Chief electoral officer (CEO) Umesh Sinha, who has earned praise from almost all across the political spectrum for catalysing a quantum jump in the state`s polling percentage, started his day lost in the melodious strains of his favourite musician, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi.

This, as per as Sinha`s own admission was "possible after a very long time".

His subordinates also stole some relaxed moments before burying themselves into the process of arranging for counting of votes, scheduled Tuesday.

Leaders from across the political spectrum, but for Ajit Singh`s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), have praised the poll panel for conducting the elections.

Senior BJP leader and former chief minister Rajnath Singh told that the large turnout was largely due to the campaigns of spiritual guru Sri Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, yoga guru Baba Ramdev and anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare, but also gave the poll panel its due for conducting a violence-free poll.

Heaping praise on the poll panel for having "spurred the voters into coming out in large numbers", BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP and senior BJP leader Kalraj Mishra lauded the poll panel for increasing voter awareness in the countryside.

State Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi also complimented the poll panel.

"It goes without saying that the Election Commission has done a fantastic job," Joshi said .

However, the RLD struck the only jarring note.

Party`s state unit chief Hardev Singh accused the poll panel of harassing the poor who earned their livelihood through buntings, posters and banners and of failing to control the use of paid news.


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