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Over 60% voting in 1st phase of Lok Sabha polls


NEW DELHI, APRIL 19: More than 60% voter turnout was recorded on Friday in the first phase of voting in the 18th Lok Sabha election in 102 constituencies spread over 21 States and Union Territories.
The voting was by and large peaceful, save stray incidents in some places.
The Election Commission of India said the voting percentage is likely to go upwards when reports from all polling stations are obtained. Final figures will be known tomorrow after the scrutiny of the available data, an ECI official said.
The voting, which began amidst tight security at 7 a.m. across 1.87 lakh polling stations, concluded at 6 p.m. Voters reaching the polling stations till the end of the polling hour were allowed to exercise their franchise.
Prominent BJP candidates whose fate was sealed in the ballot boxes today included Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari (Nagpur), Sarbananda Sonowal (Dibrugarh), Kiren Rijiju (Arunachal Pradesh West) and Jitendra Singh (Udhampur); Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai (Coimbatore) and Uttar Pradesh Minister Jitin Prasada (Pilibhit). Heavyweights from the Congress in the first phase included the party’s deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi (Jorhat, Assam) and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s son Nakul Nath (Chhindwara, MP). Another key candidate was former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi of the Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular (HAM-S) from Bihar’s Gaya.
The Lok Sabha elections are to be held in 7 phases between 19 April and 1 June and voting in the second phase will take place on 26 April. Results of the elections will be declared on 4 June.
According to the data issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI), the estimated poll turnout was recorded at 60.03% till 7 p.m. Tripura registered 79.90% turnout, West Bengal 77.57%, Puducherry 73.25%, Assam 71.38%, Sikkim 68.06% and Arunachal Pradesh 65.46%.
Jammu and Kashmir registered 65.08% voter turnout, Madhya Pradesh 63.33%, Tamil Nadu 62.19%, Uttar Pradesh 57.61% turnout, Maharashtra 55.29%, Uttarakhand 53.64%, Rajasthan 50.95%, and Bihar 47.49%, as per the data.
With the poll panel’s focus to facilitate voting in tribal hinterland, people in Left Wing Extremist (LWE) affected areas in Chhattisgarh embraced the power of the ballot over bullet, choosing the path of peace and democracy. Fifty-six villages in Bastar cast their vote in a polling booth set up in their own village for the first time in a Lok Sabha election.
From bustling city centres to remote villages, the polling stations witnessed a colourful convergence of voters spanning generations and backgrounds. Voters came in colourful attire, reflecting the rich tapestry of Indian culture and proudly flaunted their selfies with inked fingers, symbolizing the accomplishment of their civic duty.
The ECI said the assured minimum facilities guaranteed by it at every polling station were of immense support to them.
(Courtesy: TS)