New Delhi: Nearly 15% turnout was recorded in the first three hours of polling for the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections in eight states and union territories, barring Jammu and Kashmir where it began on a dull note.
A petrol bomb was hurled at a polling booth on the outskirts of Srinagar two hours ahead of polling but no one was injured. Minor skirmishes were reported in Punjab and Haryana while polling elsewhere, including in the seven seats in Delhi, was by and large peaceful.
Among the early voters were President Pratibha Patil, vice-president Hamid Ansari, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, his deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal, Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and union minister Kapil Sibal.
As many as 9.46 crore people are eligible to vote in 85 constituencies in the fourth phase, in which 1,315 candidates including 119 women are in the fray.
BJP president Rajnath Singh (Ghaziabad), Congress’ Pranab Mukherjee (Jangipur), SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav (Mainpuri), RJD supremo Lalu Prasad (Pataliputra) and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah (Srinagar) are the big names contesting in this phase.
While polling for the Srinagar seat began on a dull note, 39-year-old Omar Abdullah said after casting his vote, “People are coming out to vote regardless of the boycott call given by the separatists and this itself is a healthy sign.”