General elections 2014 have already set a record. According to data put together by the Election Commission of India, of the total 81.45 crore voters in the country, a staggering 35 crore have voted in the 349 Lok Sabha seats polling for which has been completed till Thursday.
The figure is 13.51 crore more than 2009 when 21.49 crore voters cast their vote in these 349 constituencies, according to EC officials. “In percentage terms, these 349 constituencies have registered a voter turnout of 66 per cent which is significantly higher than the 57.53 per cent turnout they had witnessed in the last Lok Sabha polls,” Election Commission’s Director General (Awareness), Akshay Rout, said Thursday.
The remaining 194 constituencies go to polls on April 30, May 7 and May 12.
Meanwhile, the seventh polling day which saw 117 parliamentary constituencies across 12 states and union territories going to polls by and large maintained the trend of high voter turnout witnessed on previous polling days.
West Bengal registered an impressive 82 per cent voter turnout for the six seats that went to polls Thursday. With a turnout of 77.05 per cent Assam also witnessed heavy polling in the six seats that voted Thursday. A constable was killed and another injured when a violent crowd tried to capture a booth, resulting in an exchange of fire in Kokrajhar. All the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu that went for polls Thursday registered a turnout of 73 per cent.
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The lone LS constituency of 3-Anantnag in J&K that went to polls saw an abysmal 28 per cent voting, marginally higher than 26.94 per cent in 2009. EC officials said stray cases of stone-pelting on security forces and polling staff by “8 to 12-year-old boys” were reported from this constituency. These incidents left three vehicles damaged and caused minor injuries to some security and polling personnel.
Maharashtra, which significantly improved its voter turnout from last time, still ended up with a voter turnout far below most states. The 19 seats the state voted for witnessed a 55.33 per cent voter turnout, significantly higher than the 44.86 per cent in 2009. All the six seats in Mumbai, that has seen poor turnouts ranging from 39.5 per cent to 44.05 per cent in the last general elections, saw turnouts ranging between 50 and 55 per cent.
Uttar Pradesh, which voted for 12 seats today, recorded a voter turnout of 60.12 per cent, significantly higher than the 46.63 per cent it registered the last time. The state also witnessed 12 cases of poll boycott in places like Aligarh, Hathras, Fatehpur Sikri, Mathura, Etah, Etawah and Akbarpur. These boycotts were mainly to protest lack of development works in these areas, said EC officials. Five instances of poll boycott were reported from West Bengal as well with voters protesting against “lack of roads” in their areas.
Today’s poll also saw the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system being used in Raipur and Chennai Central constituencies. Puducherry, which saw an impressive 82 per cent polling for its lone seat, had webcasting from all the 905 polling booths in its territory.