High voter turnout in phase 3 of Lok Sabha elections
The crucial third phase of the general elections on Thursday largely saw a healthy increase in voter turnout, with Jammu and Kashmir getting a special mention from the Election Commission for an “outstanding” 66 per cent voting in Jammu, the one constituency where polling was held.
The ruling Congress has much at stake in today’s elections. It holds 45 of the 91 constituencies – across 11 states and three union territories – which voted. The BJP fancies its chances at substantially increasing its seats in its quest to touch the 272 majority mark in the 543-member Lok Sabha.
National capital Delhi recorded a 64 per cent voter turnout, up by 12 per cent from 2009 and the Election Commission said that the figure could go up. Several keen battles are being fought for Delhi’s seven seats. Among those who voted early in the capital were Congress president Sonia Gandhi and son Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal who declared that his Aam Aadmi Party would win all seven seats. (Delhi: 1.2 crore voters to decide between BJP, Congress and AAP)
The Election Commission said the 10 seats of Uttar Pradesh saw 65 per cent polling, up 14 per cent from last time. The riot-scarred Muzaffarnagar in western UP also voted today.
Chandigarh, which has seen a high-decibel contest ever since the BJP and Aam Aadmi Party para-dropped actors Kirron Kher and Gul Panag respectively to take on former minister and sitting MP Pawan Kumar Bansal of the Congress, is likely to see a 74 per cent turnout, said the Election Commission. In 2009, 65 per cent had voted here. (India votes 2014: Candidates | Schedule)
Voting was comparatively lower in Bihar with just 51.92 per cent turnout recorded till 5 pm and in Madhya Pradesh which recorded just 46.55 per cent till 4:30 pm.
In the 10 seats of Maharashtra where polling was held, about 54 per cent voters had turned up by 5 pm. The Election Commission said voting here was likely to reach 58 per cent.
Today’s contest featured several top leaders including seven union ministers, among them Kamal Nath, Kapil Sibal and Ajit Singh; former BJP president Nitin Gadkari as in the fray too as were retired Army chief General VK Singh and Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar. (Mega battle today for India’s national election: top 10 facts)