At least four persons were killed -- three of them in West Bengal and one in Rajasthan --as stray violence, police firing and booth-capturing attempts marred the fourth phase of polling in Lok Sabha elections, which saw a turnout of 57 percent of nearly 95 million voters.
A member of a political party was reportedly shot dead in Nandigram in West Bengal but there was no official confirmation of this, Deputy Election Commissioner R Balakrishnan told reporters. A Communist Party of India - Marxist worker was killed in a bomb attack by unidentified persons in Jangipur, from where Congress stalwart Pranab Mukherjee is contesting.
A voter was killed and eight persons, including three policemen, were injured in Asansol Lok Sabha constituency in Burdwan district, when armed men opened fire.
One person -- reportedly a Communist Party of India - Marxist worker --was killed in an attack at Amta in Howrah district.
Another person was killed when paramilitary personnel opened fire to prevent a mob from capturing a booth at Olwara village in Rajasthan's Sawaimadhopur district.
The voter turnout in Haryana was 63 per cent, Punjab (65 per cent), Bihar (37 per cent), Jammu and Kashmir (24 per cent), Rajasthan (50 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (50 per cent), West Bengal (75 per cent) and Delhi (50 per cent).
Delhi on Thursday witnessed a moderate turnout of 50.03 per cent in the seven Lok Sabha constituencies, marking a dip of around 8 per cent from the assembly elections six months ago.
Nearly 1.1 crore people were eligible to vote in the seven constituencies where the political future of two Union Ministers, Kapil Sibal and Ajay Maken, was at stake. Deputy Election Commissioner R Balakrishnan said the turnout in the national capital during the Lok Sabha election was 50.03 per cent.
West Delhi constituency recorded the highest polling of 53 per cent, while North West saw the lowest at 45 per cent. East Delhi came a close second to West Delhi in terms of turnout with 52.5 per cent, followed by North East at 52 per cent.
New Delhi and Chandni Chowk witnessed 50 per cent polling each, while South Delhi had a turnout of 48 per cent. The polling was incident free across the capital where about 55,000 police personnel had been mobilised to prevent any disruption of the democratic exercise.
Low turnout in Jammu and Kashmir
A low voter turnout marked polling in the prestigious Srinagar constituency where the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, Dr. Farooq Abdullah is in the fray.
While the voter turnout was low in the urban areas of the constituency, rural areas witnessed comparatively better voting.
State chief electoral officer, B.R.Sharma told a news conference here this evening that nearly 24 percent voters had exercised their franchise during the day's voting.
Most of the eight assembly segments in summer capital Srinagar recorded dismal turnouts ranging from 1.75 percent to 14.05 percent.
The semi-urban and rural areas, however, saw better voting in this Lok Sabha constituency.
The authorities had made elaborate security arrangements to thwart the poll boycott campaign of the separatists who had called for 50-hour long shutdown across the Valley and complete boycott of the polls today.
Almost all the senior separatist leaders including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the chairman of the hard-line, All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) group, Mirwaiz Moulvi Umar Farooq, chairman of the moderate APHC group and Yasin Malik, the chairman of the Pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation front (JKLF) had been placed under house arrest by the authorities here to prevent them from organizing anti-poll protests today.
The main contest in the constituency is between the ruling National Conference patron and former chief minister, Dr. Farooq Abdullah and Moulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari of the opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP).
Approximately 63 per cent of nearly 1.20 crore voters exercised their franchise as the polling for the ten Lok Sabha seats in Haryana remained peaceful.
"Nearly 63 per cent people have cast their votes. The polling remained by and large peaceful," official sources told PTI.
Polling picked up gradually as the day progressed and people made a beeline for the polling booths. Among those who cast their votes in the morning included Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, his mother Har Devi, wife Asha Hooda and son Deepinder Singh, all of whom cast their votes in Rohtak. Former chief minister Bhajan Lal, who is contesting from Hisar constituency on a Haryana Janhit Congress ticket, cast his vote in Adampur while Indian National Lok Dal president Om Prakash Chautala exercised his franchise in Sirsa district.
Votes were cast across 12,894 polling stations with the use of over 23,000 Electronic Voting Machines.
An estimated 65 per cent of the 52.7 lakh electorate cast their votes today in four Lok Sabha seats of Punjab, which witnessed sporadic clashes between workers of the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal during the first round of the two-phased elections in the state.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal's daughter-in-law and wife and son of his arch-rival Amarinder Singh were among candidates whose fate was sealed in the EVMs. The polling was marred by a few incidents of violence at Barnala and Patiala, in which six persons were injured.
Initial reports put the turnout at 60 per cent, election officials said.
Approximately 75 per cent polling was recorded in the second and penultimate phase of the Lok Sabha elections in 17 constituencies in West Bengal today. "Around 75 per cent polling has been recorded," Chief Electoral Officer of the state Debasish Sen told reporters.