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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

81% of Lok Sabha polls over in season of turnout highs

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 01, 2014
First Published: 20:46 IST(1/5/2014) | Last Updated: 01:18 IST(2/5/2014)
In absolute terms, 80.66% of the Indian election is over; the decision is done in 438 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats.
 
These are elections in the world's biggest democracy and voters are living up to the bigness hype in style, walking the talk to polling booths.
 
More than 442 million Indians have voted in the multiple phases between April 7 and 30. This turnout is more than the combined population of the US and UK, two other throbbing democracies.
 
The overall voter turnout so far is 66.20% as against 57.61% in the last Lok Sabha elections in these 438 constituencies.
 
What's more, the voter percentage is likely to rise after postal ballots are taken into account.
 
If the trend of high turnout continues in the last two phases (May 7 and 12), Indian voters will comfortably sail past the record of 63.56% established in the 1984 polls held soon after the assassination of prime minister Indira Gandhi.
 
"It (turnout) is a record of sorts. We'll be able to say something more concrete after the polling is over (in all phases)," Akshay Rout, director general in-charge of voter awareness programme in the election commission, said after Wednesday's voting ended.
 
According to Rout, higher turnout of women were recorded in as many as 10 states/Union Territories including Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Chandigarh, Odisha, Manipur, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu.
 
Some impressive numbers are being notched up in states. Punjab, with 13 seats, had polling in one go on Wednesday. The state recorded its highest ever turnout of 73%. The turnout in 2009 was 70.04%. 
 
Goa, Tripura and Chandigarh too have seen their highest turnout.
 
Gujarat, the home turf of Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Narendra Modi, recorded a turnout of 62%, substantially up from 47.9% last time. However, it failed to surpass the record of 63.77% set in 1967.
 
Kerala, Karnataka, Delhi, Rajasthan and Haryana are among states which have registered higher turnout than in 2009. 
 
Rising heat will test voter enthusiasm when have their say in the remaining 105 seats in the last two phases.
 
Of the 438 seats already decided, the Congress had won 168 in 2009; the BJP 106; the DMK 18; the Biju Janata Dal 14; the Samajwadi Party 14; the Janata Dal (United) 14; the CPI(M) 12; the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Shiv Sena 11 each.

(With PTI inputs)

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