As 52 constituencies vote in the sixth phase of the Uttar Pradesh, one stat stands out. In none of the preceding phases has the turnout been more than 50 per cent. The Election Commission has said that this is because of the curbs it has imposed and the unprecedented security apparatus in place.
But will the Election Commission's vigil indirectly benefit anyone? If so, which party will gain from the most peaceful Uttar Pradesh election in the past few decades?
Scratch a bit below the surface and a trend emerges. The Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party stand to gain a bit, with the BSP profiting a wee bit more than the SP.
What the Election Commission's curbs have done is bring out the backward castes in large numbers to the polling station. People who had earlier been intimidated feel that they can walk to the polling station and cast their vote without fear this time.
Take the case of the Dildarnagar, a constituency in interior Ghazipur. Think Mumbai or any other linear city that has grown around a railway line and scale it down by a couple of hundred times. That is Dildarnagar and the surrounding constituencies for you. A railway line along an endless barren stretch with houses and a few shops on either side.
Image: The Dildarnagar station
Reportage : Krishnakumar
Photographs: N V Reuben
Also see: What young UP feels about elections