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64% Voters cast their vote in the First phase of UP Elections

The polling percentage in the region has bettered the past two elections of 2007 and 2012

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Voters in western UP, (File photo,image source- VOA)
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New Delhi/Lucknow, February 11, 2017: The first phase of the UP assembly elections passed off “peacefully” on Saturday with over 64 per cent polling recorded, bettering the record of the past two state polls, the Election Commission said.

“Participation (of voters) has been exemplary,” Deputy Election Commissioner Vijay Dev told reporters in New Delhi.

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Voting continued even after 5 p.m. at some polling stations since voters who had queued up late were allowed to exercise their franchise.

He said the elections spread across 15 districts, 73 assembly constituencies, involved over 2.6 crore voters, 839 candidates, including 73 women candidates.

He said there was no major law and order problem, and EVMs which malfunctioned at few polling booths, were replaced within no time.

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“Elaborate security arrangements were made to ensure free and fair elections,” he said, adding that over two lakh security personnel were deployed at various locations across the 15 districts.

Dev said that nearly three lakh “troublemakers” were bound down.

He said 3,888 cameras were also placed at various locations to keep watch on every activity in poll bound areas.

The Deputy Election Commissioner also said that Rs 19.56 lakh in cash, 4.4 lakh litre of alcohol worth Rs 4.4 lakh and gold and silver worth Rs 14 crore were seized before the elections.

Asked about the call for election boycott at a few places, Dev said that things were sorted out at six out of seven places where poll boycott call was given by the public dissatisfied for various reasons.

He, however, expressed satisfaction on the overall exercise of polling and thanked and congratulated all political parties and general public for their “cooperation”.

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“The first phase (of elections) has set the tone for the next six phases,” he said

The polling percentage in the region has bettered the past two elections of 2007 and 2012, an election official in Lucknow told IANS based on reports gathered from all polling stations. The average polling is over 60 per cent in western UP seats.

According to Chief Electoral Officer of Uttar Pradesh, T. Venkatesh, the total voter turnout was 64.22 per cent with Shamli recording highest 67.12 per cent.

While in Agra, the voter turnout was 63.88 percent, in Aligarh it was 64.66 percent, Muzaffarnagar 65.50 percent, Hapur 65.67 percent, Firozabad 63.59 percent, Mathura 65.39 percent, Noida 59.17 percent, Ghaziabad 58.10 percent, Bulandshahr 64.65 percent, Etah 64.73 percent, Kasganj 64.83 percent, Meerut 66 percent, Hatharas 64.10 percent and Baghpat polled 64.99 percent.

The polling percentage in Mathura improved by eight per cent over the 2012 state assembly elections.

Total vote percentage in the 2007 state assembly polls was 45.96 percent and 59.40 percent in 2012.

At a few places, polling was disrupted or delayed due to technical snags in EVMs, said an official, adding that by and large voting was smooth and steady at most places.

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Sporadic incidents of poll violence were also reported from some places. Clashes between activists of the ruling Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party were reported from two places.

The largest constituency in this phase, as per population, is Sahibabad in Ghaziabad and the smallest is Jalesar in Etah.

There were 26,822 polling centres in this phase of polling. Among the candidates in the fray was Pankaj Singh, the son of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

The seven-phased elections in Uttar Pradesh are from February 11 to March 8. (IANS)

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC