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60 per cent voting in first phase of LS polls

Last updated on: April 16, 2009 21:13 IST

In the first phase of the five-phased Lok Sabha polls, an estimated 60 per cent of the 14.30 crore voters exercised their franchise in 124 constituencies across India on Thursday.

Simultaneous elections to assemblies in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa also drew about 60 per cent voters' response with the polling today covering more than half of the constituencies in the two states.

"Considering the complexity and the challenges, the Election Commission is totally satisfied with today's polling," Deputy Election Commissioner R Balakrishnan told reporters in New Delhi while briefing mediapersons about the voter turnout.

Balakrishnan said that 1.85 lakh polling stations were involved in today's exercise, of which 76,000 polling stations came under some degree of Naxal threat. Across the regions which went to polls today, voting was disrupted at 86 polling stations, 71 of them by Naxals, he said, adding that the election was 'largely peaceful'.

Noting that most of the Naxal-affected areas were kept together in the first phase, he said that the EC was aware of this particular challenge and kept a close watch on the polling. He said the polling percentage ranged from 46 per cent in Bihar to 86 per cent in Lakshadweep.

Balakrishnan said the tentative polling percentage was 65 per cent in Andhra Pradesh, 62 per cent in Arunachal Pradesh, 62 per cent in Assam, 48 per cent in Jammu and Kashmir, 60 per cent in Kerala, 54 per cent in Maharashtra, 68 per cent in Manipur, 65 per cent in Meghalaya, 52 per cent in Mizoram, 84 per cent in Nagaland, 53 per cent in Orissa, 50 per cent in Uttar Pradesh, 51 per cent in Chhatisgarh, 50 per cent in Jharkhand and 62 per cent in Andaman and Nicobar.

He said the polling percentage is likely to increase as the voting was in progress in some places and the polling parties were yet to return in some others. A decision on re-polling will be taken in consultation with the observers.

Balakrishnan said 201 people were arrested including two legislators and a candidate from Bihar. He informed that polling in the Jammu parliamentary constituency and in Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh was incident-free.

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