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Contest is over, the bonding begins

delhi Updated: May 14, 2009 01:57 IST
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The fifth and final phase of the elections to the 15 th Lok Sabha ended on Wednesday, with 62 per cent of the 71.4 crore voters turning out — the highest in the five phases.

The fifth phase saw elections to 86 constituencies across nine states and two union territories, including 39 seats in Tamil Nadu.

The highest polling was recorded in West Bengal, while the lowest was in Barmulla constituency in Jammu and Kashmir. Unlike earlier phases, polling in West Bengal went off peacefully.

The prominent candidates in Wednesday’s round included Home Minister P. Chidambaram, the DMK’s T.R. Baalu, Dayanidhi Maran and M.K. Azhagiri, the Congress' Mohammad Azharuddin, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Maneka and Varun Gandhi, the MDMK's Vaiko and the Samajwadi Party's Jayaprada.

In all, 8,070 candidates contested for the 543 seats in the elections and votes would be counted on May 16 in 1,080 centres all over India, Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla said, adding, “Results could be expected by Saturday evening.”

Wednesday’s polling was peaceful in all the states, barring a few incidents of violence in West Bangal, Punjab and Tamil Nadu.

But Chawla said altogether 37 people were killed in the staggered polls, including 23 in poll-related violence. Fourteen people lost their lives because of accidents and health problems.

In Tamil Nadu, where all the 39 constituencies went for the polls, the day was peaceful, with a 61 per cent turnout. Uttar Pradesh recorded a 52 per cent turnout in 14 constituencies.

While Punjab had a 62 per cent turnout amid a few clashes between rival political groups, Uttarakhand was peaceful with a 50 to 55 per cent turnout.

Polling was disrupted at a polling station in Sopore in Baramulla parliamentary constituency, 55 km from Srinagar, after locals pelted stones at the booth, set ablaze a vehicle and staged dharna on the Sopore-Kupwara Road.