Voters defy heat, impressive turnout in seventh phase
Wednesday’s polling registered an impressive turnout as voters made a beeline to booths to exercise their franchise at 89 parliamentary constituencies across seven states and two Union Territories.
The seventh phase of polling was by and large peaceful in almost all the states, except for a stray incident of firing by security forces that left one youth dead and two injured in Srinagar. The victims were allegedly part of a group of protesters who resorted to stone pelting at a polling party in Nawa Kadal area.
The day also witnessed poll boycotts at some booths in four districts of Gujarat, including Bhavnagar, as well as in five districts of Uttar Pradesh.
In Patiala, Shiromani Akali Dal workers allegedly damaged the electronic voting machines at a polling booth. “A case has been registered and two people have been arrested in this connection,” Deputy Election Commissioner Alok Shukla told reporters.
According to the Election Commission, voter turnout remained high in Punjab, Dadra and Nagar Haveli as well as in Daman and Diu, while Gujarat recorded a “phenomenal increase” in polling percentage over the previous elections.
In Gujarat, the voter turnout stood at about 62 per cent, almost 15 per cent higher than 2009. It was only in 1967 when the state witnessed 63.77 per cent turn out, the highest so far, Director General of Election Commission Akshay Rout told reporters.
Voter turn out in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar, from where BJP veteran L K Advani is contesting, was about 62 per cent. About 70 per cent voters exercised their franchise at Vadodara constituency, where BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is taking on Congress’ Madhusudan Mistry.
Fourteen parliamentary constituencies, which went to polls in Uttar Pradesh, recorded about 9 per cent increase in polling percentage as voters turned out in large numbers braving the scorching heat.
In West Bengal, the voter turnout was at 81.35 per cent but election officials said it may go up to 83 per cent as data was still being updated.
In Srinagar, which went to polls amid calls for boycott by the separatists, the voter turn out was a low 25.62 per cent.