Smriti Irani accuses Rahul of 'booth capturing' in Amethi
Amethi (UP): More than 40 per cent people had voted in Amethi till 3 pm on Monday, officials said as acrimony marked the keenly-watched election with BJP candidate Smriti Irani alleging that Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was "ensuring booth capturing".
According to officials, the turnout till 3 pm was 42.18 per cent in the constituency, long considered a Gandhi family turf.
Voting began at 7 am.
Officials said the maximum turnout was in the Muslim dominated Salon assembly segment which recorded 44.6 per cent polling till 3 pm. This was followed by Jagdishpur with 41 per cent.
Irani, who crisscrossed the area from early morning, visiting booths to meet party workers, accused Gandhi of capturing booths.
"Alert @ECISVEEP Congress President @Rahul Gandhi ensuring booth capturing," the Union minister said on Twitter.
She also tagged a video in which an elderly women is seen alleging that her hand was forcibly put on the 'panja' (hand) election symbol of the Congress though she wanted to vote for the 'kamal' (lotus), the BJP's symbol. There is no written complaint on the matter.
Irani also questioned the absence of the Gandhi scion from Amethi.
In his stead, local Congress leaders moved around the constituency.
The fierce battle between Gandhi and Irani seemed to push voters to come out to vote despite the scorching heat.
Women appeared to outnumber men in the initial hours of voting. Amethi witnessed a bitter battle between the two leaders in the 2014 general elections as well. Gandhi won the seat with a reduced margin of one lakh votes compared to three lakh votes in 2009.
There are five assembly segments in the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency -- Amethi town, Gauriganj, Jagdishpur, Tiloi and Salon. Of the five assembly segments, four are represented by the BJP and one by the SP. Salon and Jagdishpur are reserved constituencies.