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Phase 2 Records 66% Turnout as IED Blast, Police Firings, Mob Attacks & EVM Glitches Mar Voting

Phase 2 Records 66% Turnout as IED Blast, Police Firings, Mob Attacks & EVM Glitches Mar Voting

Senior Deputy Election Commissioner said that the overall turnout in second phase was 66.63% Officials said the figures are likely to go up as there are many people in queues even after the scheduled timing for voting elapsed.

New Delhi: High voter turnout marked polling in the second phase of Lok Sabha elections Thursday covering 95 constituencies in 11 states and Puducherry, with both the Union territory and Manipur clocking a percentage of 80.

The Srinagar seat in Jammu and Kashmir recorded a percentage of only 14.8. Barring Maharashtra, the poll percentage in rest of the states was in excess of 60 while in Puducherry it was 80.47.

Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha said in Delhi that the overall turnout in the second phase was 66.63 per cent. Officials said the figures are likely to go up as there are many people in queues even after the scheduled timing for voting elapsed.

Except for a few sporadic incidents of violence in West Bengal and Manipur and EVM glitches in some seats, polling was by and large peaceful.

Two violence-related deaths were reported since yesterday, including that of a woman polling personnel who was killed by extremists on Wednesday in Odisha. Another death was reported Thursday. Two other people, including a voter and a polling officer died of apparent heart attack.

Referring to the issue of glitches in EVMs, Deputy Election Commissioner Sudip Jain said a total of 1000 ballot units, 769 control units 2,766 paper trail machines were replaced.

Tamil Nadu registered 63.73 per cent polling for the 38 Lok Sabha seats and 67.08 per cent in bypolls to 18 assembly constituencies. In Madurai, polling took place till 8 PM in view of the local temple festival.

Paramilitary forces had to open fire near Arakkonam to disperse crowds. An estimated 61.84 per cent turnout was reported in the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka, which is witnessing a direct contest between the ruling Congress-JD(S) alliance and the BJP.

Puducherry registered 80.5 per cent polling in the lone Lok Sabha seat while in the by-election to the Thattanchavady assembly segment, 76 per cent of the voters exercised their franchise. Srinagar had also witnessed the lowest voter turnout in the country in 2014 at 25.86 per cent.

No untoward incident was reported during polling which was being held amid tight security due to militant threats and a boycott call by separatists in Kashmir. Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency recorded 70 per cent polling.

Polling was also held in 10 seats in Maharashtra, eight in Uttar Pradesh, five each in Assam, Bihar and Odisha, three each in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, and one seat in Manipur besides 35 assembly constituencies in Odisha.

Polling in Tamil Nadu's Vellore LS seat was cancelled Tuesday by the Election Commission following recovery of cash allegedly from an associate of a DMK leader recently.

The EC also announced postponement of polling in Tripura (East) Lok Sabha seat to the third phase on April 23, saying the prevailing law-and-order situation there is not conducive for holding free and fair polls.

Isolated incidents of violence, road blockades, bombings and police firing marred polling in the three Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal with 76 per cent of voter turnout recorded.

Police fired in the air and burst tear gas shells to control a mob, who threw stones at them in Raiganj Lok Sabha constituency. Bombs were also hurled by unknown miscreants in Chopra area, an EC official said.

A reporter and a camera person of a local news channel were allegedly manhandled when they went to cover polling at Kataphulbari in Raiganj constituency. CPI(M) candidate from Raiganj, Md Salim, claimed his car was attacked by unknown persons when he went to a polling booth at Islampur.

Special Police Observer Vivek Dubey, however, described the voting as "more or less peaceful" with a few isolated incidents reported from places in the three seats.

In Manipur, voting was stalled in two polling booths of the Inner Manipur Lok Sabha constituency after violence broke out over alleged proxy voting and dispute among election agents.

In one of the booths at Kiyamgei Muslim Makha locality in Imphal East district, unidentified men stormed into a polling station around 11.30 am and broke EVMs and VVPATs, claiming that "proxy voting" was being carried out in the station, officials said.

In the other booth in the same area, a scuffle broke out between the polling agents of opposing political parties around 3pm, derailing the voting process. Sources in the election office said that re-polling was likely in the two booths.

An average 57.22 per cent polling was recorded till 5 pm in 10 constituencies of Maharashtra. Around 69 per cent polling was recorded in Chhattisgarh's three Lok Sabha seats, all having Naxal presence, amid tight security.

According to police, except for an IED blast triggered by Maoists in Mohla-Manpur assembly segment of Rajnandgaon Lok Sabha constituency, no other untoward incident was reported in the poll bound areas.

About 64 per cent voters exercised their franchise in five Odisha Lok Sabha and 35 assembly seats, some of them in Naxal-affected areas. In Assam, Nowgong recorded the state's highest polling of 75.71 per cent, followed by Mangaldoi and Silchar with 75.07 per cent and 71.79 per cent respectively. In Karimganj, the figure was 71.41 per cent and Autonomous District witnessed the lowest voting at 69.51 per cent.

The five seats in Bihar saw an estimated 62.52 per cent voting. The Election Commission put the overall voter turnout in Uttar Pradesh at 62.30 per cent.

Lok Sabha polls are being held in seven-phases for 543 seats on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19, and counting will be on May 23.

(With inputs from PTI)