Voters feel the heat in third phase of polls
The heat wave singed the third phase of the Lok Sabha polls, with only half the 14.40 crore voters turning up to vote for 107 seats on Thursday. With temperatures ranging from 40 to 46 degree Celsius in nine states and two Union Territories, Deputy Election Commissioner R. Balakrishan said the “hot summer” had affected the turnout. Chetan Chauhan reports. See Specialindia Updated: May 01, 2009 00:45 IST
The heat wave singed the third phase of the Lok Sabha polls, with only half the 14.40 crore voters turning up to vote for 107 seats on Thursday.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and BJP prime minister candidate Lal Krishna Advani were among the 1,567 candidates in the fray in the third round.
Even as the poll panel described the polling as peaceful, two polling officials and their driver were killed in West Bengal’s Paschim Midnapore district when a landmine blew up their vehicle on Thursday evening.
In Purulia, two Border Security Force men were injured in an explosion in a primary school.
With Thursday’s poll, voting for two-thirds of the 543 Lok Sabha seats is now over.
The round was crucial for the BJP which was defending 43 seats as compared to the Congress’s 25. Polling is now over in the BJP strongholds of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
The average turnout for Phase III was lower compared to 2004, except in Gujarat and Anantnag, the only seat to go the polls in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.
Despite the boycott call given by the separatists, the voting percentage was 10 per cent higher at 25 per cent in Anantnag than the last time.
Gujarat saw a five per cent higher voting this time. It was 45 per cent in 2004 polls. BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani is a candidate from Gandhinagar. After casting his vote, Advani called for a fixed tenure for Lok Sabha and compulsory voting to counter low turnout.
Polls were boycotted in 150 polling booths in West Bengal and Bihar. In West Bengal’s sensitive Lalgarh area, very low turnout was reported.