65% turnout at polls for local bodies
An average turnout of 65% was recorded at the elections for 27 zilla parishads (ZP) and 305 panchayat samitis held in the state on Tuesday. No major law and order incidents were reported.
Neela Satyanarayan, state election commissioner, said: "An average of 65% is a primary estimate. We will get the final and correct figures by Wednesday."
Voting for ZPs and panchayat samitis was held simultaneously. "More than 67% turnout was registered in eight naxal-hit areas of Gadchiroli district," said Satyanarayan. Elections in the remaining four tehsils of Gadchiroli will be held on February 12.
The elections will decide who has won the battle of supremacy between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), who were pitted against each other despite being coalition partners in the Democratic Front government.
The Congress, especially chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, has a lot at stake because deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar-led NCP emerged victorious in the first round by winning maximum seats in December's municipal council polls. Being the single largest party in the state legislature with the largest representation from the state in the Lok Sabha, Congress wants to compensate for the loss.
Meanwhile, nearly 55% voter turnout was reported in the elections for 66 zilla parishad seats and 132 panchayat samiti seats in Thane district. Eight villages from Ambernath Taluka banned the district polls. Problems in electronic voting machines were detected in eight talukas including Kalyan, Shahpur, Murbad, Jawahar, Vikramgad, Palghar, Dahanu and Bhiwandi.
Merely 26% voting was reported in Kalyan, the lowest in the district while Talasari reported the highest, 58%, voting.
Around 17,87,704 voters cast their votes of which 9,28,264 were male and 8,59,440 were female.
Inputs from Megha Pol