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HindustanTimes Tue,22 Jul 2014

Great Indian elections over, people's verdict out on Friday

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 12, 2014
First Published: 06:44 IST(12/5/2014) | Last Updated: 00:34 IST(13/5/2014)

The marathon polling for the nine-phase 2014 Lok Sabha elections came to an end as 41 seats across Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal voted on Monday. The country now awaits the judgement day next Friday.

The spotlight in this round was on Varanasi (UP), where BJP's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi took on Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP's) Arvind Kejriwal and Congress' Ajay Rai.

The high-profile seat recorded a voter turnout of 55.63% - around 13% more than the 2009 figure of 42.61%. 

An FIR was filed against Congress' nominee Ajay Rai on the directive of the election commission for allegedly violating the model code of conduct by flashing his party's poll symbol on his 'kurta' while going to vote.

The 18 constituencies in UP registered an overall voter turnout of 54.24%.

Voting in the 17 seats of Bengal was marred by violence. The state saw a turnout of nearly 80% - lower than 82% in the same seats in 2009.

Though no one was killed, four persons were shot at and several others were injured by sharp weapons in Haroa in Basirhat constituency of North 24-Parganas district that adjoins state capital Kolkata.

In Bihar, 58% polling was recorded in six seats. Stray incidents of violence were reported from different constituencies. In Gopalganj, a constituency in northwestern Bihar, a man was admitted to hospital with multiple injuries after he was allegedly thrashed by ruling JD(U) Kuchaikot MLA Amarendra Pandey.

In the ninth phase, 600 candidates were in the across the three states. Nearly 66 million voters are expected to seal their electoral fortunes.

Of the 41 seats where polling was held, the Trinamool Congress (Bengal's ruling party) had won 14 seats in 2009, followed by six each by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Samajwadi Party (UP's ruling party), five by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and four by the Congress.

Record turnout

After the last phase, the election commission said the 2014 Lok Sabha polls saw 66.38% of the 827-million-strong Indian electorate exercising their franchise.

The polling percentage in the world's biggest democratic exercise comfortably surpassed the 1984 turnout of 64% when Rajiv Gandhi became the prime minister after the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

The 2014 polls also broke the record in terms of voters' numbers set five years ago when the Congress-led UPA returned to power for a second straight time.

Altogether 551 million voters - more than the combined population of the US, Germany, Canada and the UK - cast their ballots this year.

The figure shattered the previous record of 417 million for any general election set five years ago, election commission director general Akshay Rout told reporters after the nine-phase polling ended.


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