New Delhi: Voters have come out in “highest- ever” numbers to cast their votes in six phases in the 349 Lok Sabha constituencies in 24 states and union territories where elections were completed, the Election Commission said on Thursday.
“By this time, the national aggregate of turnout for all the elections held so far is 66 per cent as against 57.53 per cent for the same constituencies in 2009 Lok Sabha elections,” Election Commission Director General Akshay Rout said.
“Of course, it is the highest ever”, he told reporters reacting to a query. His statement indicates the 2014 Lok Sabha elections may witness the highest voter turn out if the trend continues.
He said a total of 35 crore voters have cast their votes in the 349 constituencies in this year’s elections.
In 2009 Lok Sabha polls for these constituencies, the total votes which were cast were 21.49 crores.
Rout said the figures might change as repolls have been ordered in certain polling stations and postal ballots are not included and the figures will slightly increase.
Voting for 349 seats over, high voter turnout in TN, WB
The second biggest phase of the staggered Lok Sabha elections witnessed a brisk polling in most of the 117 seats on Thursday. With this phase, voting for 349 out of the 543 Lok Sabha seats has been completed, leaving only the last three phases. The polling took place in 11 states and a Union Territory with Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry witnessing a massive turnout.
All the 39 constituencies of Tamil Nadu went to polls on Thursday and recorded 73 per cent polling which passed off by and large peacefully. The voting percentage of 73 per cent is marginally higher compared to 72.98 per cent polled in the 2009 elections. The elections have turned out to be an acid test for arch rivals AIADMK and DMK, besides show of strength for the BJP-led NDA combination.
The fortunes of 845 candidates, including DMK’s A Raja (Nilgiris) and Dayanidhi Maran (Central Chennai), P Chidambaram’s son Karti (Sivaganga), another Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar(Mayiladuthurai), BJP state president Pon Radhakrishnan, and AAP leader and anti-nuclear activist SP Udhaya Kumar (both Kanyakumari) were sealed in the Electronic Voting Machines.
The neighbouring union territory of Puducherry also witnessed a record turnout of 83 per cent of the 8.85 lakh electorate casting their votes for the lone seat as against the 79.85 per cent in 2009 elections. Minister of State in PMO V Narayanasamy is waging an herculean battle in a field of 30 candidates for his second successive win fromPuducherry, amidst challenge thrown by ruling AINRC and PMK.
There was massive voter turnout in West Begal as 82 per cent polling was recorded in six parliamentary constituencies in the second leg of the five-phase elections in West Bengal. Voting was held in the six constituencies of Raiganj, Balurghat, Malda North, Malda South, Jangipur and Murshidabad in north Bengal. Senior leaders Adir Ranjan Chowdhury, Deepa Das Munshi, Abhijit Mukherjee were in the fray.
The Hindi heartlands too witnessed a brisk voting. Despite the mercury soaring over 42 degrees Celsius, around 60 per cent voter turnout was recorded in seven Lok Sabha seats of Bihar. While Supaul registered 59 per cent voting, it was 60 per cent in Araria, 64 per cent in Kisanganj, 64 per cent in Katihar, 59 per cent in Purnia, 55 per cent in Bhagalpur and 56.43 per cent in Banka, an Election Commission statement said.
In neighbouring Jharkhand 63.55 per cent voting was recorded in the third and final phase of polling in four Lok Sabha seats. The fate of 72 candidates including former chief ministers Shibu Soren of JMM, Babulal Marandi of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik and BJP’s Sunil Soren, was sealed in EVMs. Polling was held in Dhanbad, Dumka, Rajmahal and Godda Lok Sabha constituencies.
The politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh recorded 58.5 per cent polling and it was a showcase of heavyweights across 12 seats in the state. Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, his daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, Amar Singh and BJP leader Hema Malini were in the fray.
Maharashtra saw a low voter turnout recorded an average 56.26 per cent polling in the 19 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, where polling was held on Thursday in the third and final phase. The highest turnout was in Dindori (ST) at 64 per cent, while the lowest was in Kalyan at 42 per cent. Actor-director Mahesh Manjrekar, activist Medha Patkar and former banker Meera Sanyal were in the fray along with many of the old guard and second-generation leaders such as Priya Dutt and Milind Deora.
The voting process in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh ended with the final tranche of 10 seats. Sushma Swaraj, a senior BJP leaders contested from Vidisha against Congress leader Digvijaya Singh’s brother Lakshman. A total of 64 per cent voting was recorded for 10 Lok Sabha seats in the final phase amid reports of poll boycott from a village in Khargone district.
Voting in Chhattisgarh also ended on Thursday with 62.5 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise in the seven seats amidst tight security.
An estimated 77.5 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the third and final phase of Lok Sabha polls in Assam which witnessed poll violence in Kokrajhar (ST) constituency where one policeman was killed and two others were seriously injured. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is a Rajya Sabha MP from the state since 1991, and his wife Gursharan Kaur cast their vote at Dispur Government Higher Secondary School in Guwahati.
About 57.5 per cent of 81 lakh voters exercised their franchise in five Lok Sabha constituencies where polling ended for the second and final phase in Rajasthan. Barring one incident of clash between security forces and villagers in which five persons including four photo journalists were injured and vehicles were damaged after forces opened 14 rounds of fire at Satha village in Dausa district, the polling was nowhere affected or obstructed, DGP-Law and Order Navdeep Singh said. Cricketer-turned-politician Mohammad Azharuddin is contesting from Tonk.
However, there was a low voter turnout in Jammu and Kashmir. Anantnag parliamentary constituency of south Kashmir recorded 28 per cent polling, up by just one per cent as compared to 2009 Lok Sabha polls.