Ghaziabad: Over 22 lakh voters of Ghaziabad are expected to exercise their franchise in the Lok Sabha elections on Thursday with the hope to erase the stained image of the area and ensure its development.
The district administration has made elaborate security arrangements to ensure free and fair polling in the Lok Sabha constituency, where a multi-corner contest is in the offing.
Prominent among the total 15 candidates from the seat are former Army chief V K Singh (BJP), actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar (Congress), Shazia Ilmi of the Aam Aadmi Party and BSP`s Mukul Upadhyay.
Ilmi is the only woman candidate from the constituency, which has an almost even mix of rural and urban voters.
Polling will start at 7 AM and continue till 6 PM, District Magistrate SVS Rangarao told PTI.
Of the total 2,172 polling stations, 177 have been identified as "critical" and around 21,600 civil and paramilitary forces personnel have been deployed to ensure smooth polling, Rangarao said.
He said arrangements for web-casting of polling has been made and a number of photographers and videographers will be visiting the constituency to record the proceedings.
During the high-decibel campaigning for over a fortnight, the candidates, majority of whom do not reside here, highlighted their plans of development for the area, hoping that the 22.64 lakh voters of the constituency would deviate from the earlier caste and religious considerations and cast their votes on development lines.
Leaders of all major parties -- BJP`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, BSP supremo Mayawati and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal -- had canvassed for their party nominees.
BJP president Rajnath Singh won the seat in 2009. The constituency, adjoining to Delhi, consists of five Assembly seats - Ghaziabad, Sahibabad, Loni, Muradnagar and Dhaulana.