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Festival of democracy kicks off
National

Festival of democracy kicks off

Agency News

New Delhi, Apr 11 : Amid scattered violence, 91 constituencies in 18 states and two Union Territories voted on Thursday in the first phase of polls for the 17th Lok Sabha.

Voting was held on all 25 LS seats of Andhra Pradesh; five in Uttarakhand; eight in Uttar Pradesh, five of Assam; four each of Bihar and Odisha; two each of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, West Bengal; and two of Jammu and Kashmir besides one each of Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tripura, Manipur and UTs of Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep.

The polling commenced at 0700 hours. Serpentine queues of eager voters could be seen at the polling stations.

West Bengal recorded 69.94 per cent voter turnout while North eastern states of Nagaland , Tripura and Manipur saw 68 per cent people voting till 1500 hours.

Till 1500 hrs 68.65 percent voters in Tripura; 68.90 per cent in Manipur; 68 percent in Nagaland came out to vote. Assam saw 59.5 percent voters turning out to exercise their franchise. In Mizoram 55.2 per cent , 50.87 percent in Arunachal Pradesh and 50.86 percent in Uttar Pradesh voter turnout has been recorded.

Uttarakhand has seen 46.5 per cent turnout, Union Territory of Lakshdaweep 51.25 percent, and Bihar 48.74 per cent voter turnout till 1500 hours.

Fifty-five per cent votes were cast in Andhra Pradesh,46.13 per cent in Maharashtra, 55 per cent each in Sikkim and Meghalaya .

Jatland Saharanpur seat in West Uttar Pradesh saw 54.18 percent voter turnout ; Bijnore 50.80 per cent and Meerut constituency 51 percent electorate coming out of their homes to strengthen democracy.

Kairana seat in Uttar Pradesh witnessed police firing in the air to disperse two clashing groups However, 52.4 percent voters exercised their democratic rights till 1500 hours in this constituency.

As many as 50.6 percent voters in Muzzafarnagar ;50.6 percent in Baghpat; 53 percent in Ghaziabad and 57.6 percent in Gautambudhnagar participated in the polling process.

However, 57.6 percent voters have exercised their franchise till 1700 hrs in Gautam Buddh Nagar.

Voting for all the assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim was also held simultaneously.

Besides, voting was held for 28 assembly seats out of 147 in Odisha.

Red menace

Voting started at 0700 hours and continued till 1800 hours at most polling stations but it ended earlier in Naxalite-affected areas due to security considerations.

Voters sealed the fate of Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, V K Singh, Satyapal Singh, Ajay Tamta, besides Congress party's Harish Rawat, Pradeep Tamta, Chirag Paswan of Lok Jan Shakti Party, RLD's Ajit Singh and Jayant Chaudhary, IMIM's Asaduddin Owaisi , BJP's Sanjeev Kumar Baliyan' , Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank; and Jitan Ram Manjhi of Hindu Awami Morcha.

In Jammu and Kashmir, about 30 percent of over 13 lakh voters exercised their democratic right till 1500 hrs in Baramulla Parliamentary constituency, spread over three districts of Baramulla, Bandipora and Kupwara in north Kashmir, amid shutdown and unprecedented security arrangements. Jammu-Poonch was an enthusiastic voter response

An official spokesperson told UNI that about 30 percent polling was recorded in Baramulla Lok Sabha seat till 1500 hrs.

He said the frontier district of Kupwara recorded the highest 38.7 percent polling during the first eight hours, followed by Bandipora with 26.1 per cent.

'Baramulla recorded the lowest voter turnout in the constituency at 19 percent till 1500 hrs,' he said adding that polling was by and large peaceful.

Over 13 lakh voters were eligible to exercise their franchise to elect their representative among nine candidates in the first phase amid a hawk-eye security vigil in Baramulla Lok Sabha seat, where mobile internet service was suspended for security reasons. Polling started at 0700 hrs and endED at 1800 hrs at all 1749 polling stations, which have been established at 1387 locations in the constituency, spread over Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora districts, official sources said.

Some of the polling stations were "all women polling booths" where the fair sex performed all election duties.

Grandees

In hilly Uttarakhand, former Chief Minister Harish Rawat of the Congress tried his luck from Nainital-Udham Singh Nagar constituency. Other crucial seats in the state are Haridwar where BJP’s sitting MP Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ and Almora from where Union Minister of State Ajay Tamta is seeking re-election.

In Uttar Pradesh, amid reports of group clashes and firing in the air by security forces, the first phase polls in eight Lok Sabha seats, spread over 10 communal sensitive districts of the most populated state of the country, on Thursday ended with around 65 percent of the electorate, exercising their franchise.

The fate of Union Ministers Mahesh Sharma (Gautam Buddha Nagar), General (Retd) VK Singh (Ghaziabad), former Mumbai Police Commissioner Satpal Singh (Baghpat), former Prime Minister Choudhury Charan Singh, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh (Muzaffarnagar) and Jayant Choudhury (Baghpat) was sealed in the EVMs.

The other prominent candidates in this phase included Imran Masood (Congress) from Saharanpur, Nasimuddin Siddique from Bijnore (Congress) and Haji Yakoob Quereshi (BSP) from Meerut.

Voter turnout would cross the 65 per cent mark, a senior official of the EC, told UNI.

Braving scorching heat, a large number of women voters turned up to exercise their franchise and some of them were observing fast on the occasion of Chaiti Chhath in four Lok Sabha constituencies of Bihar during the first phase of election since 0700 hrs. Voting percentage was 33.5 percent till 1300 hrs.

According to the state election office, Nawada Lok Sabha constituency reported highest 37 per cent voting followed by Aurangabad (34 per cent), Gaya (33 per cent) and Jamui (29 percent).

Sporadic violence was reported from Andhra Pradesh, Kairana -the Jatland of Western Uttar Pradesh and Cooch Bihar in West Bengal. Reports said a Telugu Desam Party leader was killed. (UNI)