Highest polling of 78% recorded in Puducherry; 71% exercise franchise in T.N. Assembly bypolls
The second phase of the Lok Sabha election for 95 constituencies registered a tentative voter turnout of 67.6% across 11 States and one Union Territory, with sporadic incidents of violence reported on Thursday.
The overall figure was 69.62% in 2014.
The highest turnout of 78% was reported from Puducherry, followed by Manipur with 77.86% and West Bengal with 76.42%.
Tamil Nadu, which voted in the first general election without towering Dravidian stalwarts Jayalalithaa and M. Karunanidhi, recorded an average turnout of 71.11% in the 38 constituencies. Polling in the Vellore constituency was earlier cancelled due to alleged use of money power to influence voters.
Besides, an average of 71.62% voters turned out to exercise their franchise in the 18 Assembly seats where by-polls were held simultaneously in the State. The outcome in these seats along with four other constituencies, which will have by-polls on May 19, will determine the fate of the AIADMK government that is surviving on a thin majority.
Prominent candidates in Tamil Nadu whose fates were sealed on Thursday included Union Minister of State Pon Radhakrishnan (BJP), Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambi Durai (AIADMK), and former Union Ministers A. Raja, T. R. Baalu, Dayanidhi Maran, and Jagathrakshagam (all DMK); Anbumani Ramadoss (PMK); and EVKS Elangovan (Congress).
Election to Tripura (East) was postponed to April 23 because of security concerns.
There was an increase in voting percentage in the five parliamentary constituencies of Bihar, from 61.93% in 2014 to 62.52%. In the eight constituencies of Uttar Pradesh, the figure stood at 62.06% till 6 p.m. compared to 61.87% the last time.
Over 15.80 crore people were eligible to cast their vote in the second phase.
The Assembly poll for 35 seats in Odisha, where a turnout of 58.38% (tentative) was recorded as against 73.75% in 2014, was also conducted.
Among the key contestants were also former Prime Minister and JD(S) chief H.D. Deve Gowda, Union Minister Jitendra Singh, BJP’s Hema Malini, DMK’s Kanimozhi and former J&K Chief Minister and NC president Farooq Abdullah.
The Commission said the voting in Udhampur and Srinagar parliamentary constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir remained peaceful. However, the turnout in Srinagar was a dismal 13.43%, compared to more than 25% in 2014, while Udhampur recorded a robust 66.67% till 5 p.m. as against 71.48% the last time.
However, small incidents of violence were reported from Manipur, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh.
An IED blast was triggered by the naxals in Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon, but no one was injured. In Manipur, EVM units were damaged at a polling station and in Odisha, a poll official was killed in a naxal attack on Wednesday. Mohammed Salim, CPI (M) candidate from West Bengal’s Raiganj, complained to the poll officials that a group of goons attempted to attack him. On his complaint, security forces were sent and the crowd gathered outside a polling station dispersed.
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