Voters turned out in large numbers to exercise their franchise in the three northeastern states of Assam, Tripura and Sikkim though an unseasonal heatwave kept people away from the booths in Goa during the fourth phase of polling in the Lok Saha elections on Saturday.
Tripura recorded a high turnout of 66% till 2 pm for the lone seat while in Assam 52% had cast their votes for three seats till 1pm.
In Sikkim 30% had cast their votes till midday for the lone Lok Sabha seat while 35% cast their votes in Goa for two seats till 11am.
Polling was also held in 32 assembly constituencies in Sikkim.
In Tripura, tribals, forming the majority of the electorate in the lone East Tripura (ST) seat, were seen waiting to cast their votes in colourful traditional dresses.
Women tribal voters outnumbered men in the polling booths in rural and hilly areas of the state. There are 12 candidates in the fray.
The CPI(M) had won the seat 11 out of 15 times between 1952 and 2009 and did it consecutively since 1996.
Woman voters show their voter identity cards as they wait in a queue to cast votes for Tripura West LS polls outside a polling station in Dhamcherra. (PTI photo)
"Balloting took place in tribal reserve Tripura East constituency with no untoward incident reported so far. The polling was absolutely peaceful in the parliamentary constituency," Tripura chief electoral officer Ashutosh Jindal told IANS.
In the three LS seats in Assam, Karimganj (SC) recorded the highest of 40% polling, Silchar 35% and Autonomous District (ST) comprising Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao districts 36%, election office sources said.
EVM malfunction was reported from the Autonomous District and Karimganj constituencies but they were replaced and voting continued uninterrupted, the sources said.
Long queues of voters, including women and young people, were seen an hour before polling began at 7 am.
A voter sits on her son's cart after casting her vote at a polling station at Borkok, in Karbianglong district, in Assam. (AFP photo)
State chief electoral officer Vijayendra said polling remained peaceful in all three seats.
For the second phase of polls in the state, 37 candidates are in the fray. Polling for five constituencies was held April 7, while the third and last phase for the remaining six seats will take place April 24.
Long queues were seen at most of the polling stations in Sikkim Saturday as more than a quarter of the electorate voted for the lone Lok Sabha constituency and 32 assembly seats in the first four hours, officials said.
"By 12 pm, around 30% voters had cast their ballot," poll official Anil Raj Rai told IANS.
"No untoward incident was reported anywhere and voting is taking place in a peaceful manner," the official said, adding there were some technical difficulties with the EVMs in some places, but these were sorted quickly.
The voter turnout was enthusiastic at most of 538 polling stations.
Monks showing their ink marked fingers after casting votes for Lok sabha polls at Enchey Monastery in Gangtok. (PTI photo)
There are 362,326 eligible voters in the state out of which 175,549 or 48.45% are women.
Six candidates are in the fray including sitting MP Prem Das Rai of the Sikkim Democratic Front.
The state is holding polls for the 32-seat assembly simultaneously with the general elections. Only the SDF, SKM and the Congress have put up candidates in all the assembly seats, the BJP in 13 and the Trinamool Congress in seven.
The SDF had made a clean sweep of all the seats in 2009.
Around 35% voters cast their ballot in Goa till 11am though the crowd at the polling booths started thinning out due to excessive heat, officials said.
The voters responded with enthusiasm till 10am, but the number started dwindling after that.
According to the Election Commission officials, the voting percentage in North Goa was 36.42% till 11am, while in South Goa it was 34.11%. Chief minister Manohar Parrrikar was amongst the early voters when he exercised his franchise at a polling booth in Panaji.
In all 10,60,777 voters will exercise their franchise in both North and South Goa constituencies where major national parties including Congress, BJP, AAP and Communist Party of India (CPI) are in the poll arena.