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Turnout makes Elections 2011 historic

The confidence-building measures and unprecedented security steps taken by the Election Commission (EC) have yielded results. Joydeep Thakur and Sukumar Debnath report.

kolkata Updated: May 12, 2011 13:41 IST

The confidence-building measures and unprecedented security steps taken by the Election Commission (EC) have yielded results. The voter turnout in the recently concluded West Bengal elections, the 15th in the state, was a record all-time high.

An average 84% votes were cast in the six-phase polls, which began on April 18 and concluded on Tuesday. The highest voter turnout last recorded was in 2006. It was nearly 82%.

And the pat on the back came from none other than chief election commissioner SY Quraishi, who called up the state's chief electoral officer (CEO), Sunil Gupta, on Tuesday to congratulate him.

"It was at a personal level. He called me up to congratulate the voters of West Bengal, the political parties and all the officials for the high voters' turnout and the manner in which the polling was conducted," Gupta said.

From 75% in 2001, the turnout had increased to 78% in the Lok Sabha polls in 2004 and, subsequently, to close to 82% in 2006. The lowest percentage was recorded in 1962. It was 55.55%.

The steps taken by the EC since January 2011, including the sending of observers, vulnerability mapping, unprecedented security arrangements and a number of confidence-building measures, boosted the morale of the voters and ensured that they turned out in large numbers.

"This is an indication of the growing consciousness of the people of West Bengal," the chief electoral officer added.

But, even though the overall polling percentage in the state surpassed all previous records, the record that the constituency of Sabang in West Midnapore created in 1996 is yet to be broken.

Turnout makes Elections 2011 historic
Joydeep Thakur and Sukumar Debnath
letters@hindustantimes.com
Kolkata: The confidence-building measures and unprecedented security steps taken by the Election Commission (EC) have yielded results. The voter turnout in the recently concluded West Bengal elections, the 15th in the state, was a record all-time high.

An average 84% votes were cast in the six-phase polls, which began on April 18 and concluded on Tuesday. The highest voter turnout last recorded was in 2006. It was nearly 82%.

And the pat on the back came from none other than chief election commissioner SY Quraishi, who called up the state's chief electoral officer (CEO), Sunil Gupta, on Tuesday to congratulate him.

"It was at a personal level. He called me up to congratulate the voters of West Bengal, the political parties and all the officials for the high voters' turnout and the manner in which the polling was conducted," Gupta said.

From 75% in 2001, the turnout had increased to 78% in the Lok Sabha polls in 2004 and, subsequently, to close to 82% in 2006. The lowest percentage was recorded in 1962. It was 55.55%.

The steps taken by the EC since January 2011, including the sending of observers, vulnerability mapping, unprecedented security arrangements and a number of confidence-building measures, boosted the morale of the voters and ensured that they turned out in large numbers.

"This is an indication of the growing consciousness of the people of West Bengal," the chief electoral officer added.

But, even though the overall polling percentage in the state surpassed all previous records, the record that the constituency of Sabang in West Midnapore created in 1996 is yet to be broken.

In 1996, Sabang witnessed a 95.8 polling percentage, which is still an all-time high for voter turnout in the state. This year, Sabang recorded just 92%.

"Since 1977, Sabang has always witnessed a high voter turnout. In each of the elections, the polling percentage has remained above 90%," joint chief electoral officer Dibyendu Sarkar said.

"Since 1977, Sabang has always witnessed a high voter turnout. In each of the elections, the polling percentage has remained above 90%," joint chief electoral officer Dibyendu Sarkar said.