New Delhi: An estimated 62% of the electorate on Wednesday exercised their franchise in the fifth and final phase of Lok Sabha polling, bringing down the curtain on the month-long democratic exercise, the longest in the world.
Barring stray violence which left two persons dead, the final round saw voting in 86 constituencies where nearly 11 crore voters were eligible to vote, across nine states and two union territories, including all 39 seats in Tamil Nadu, considered a key swing state, where the turnout was recorded at 60-62% in the 39 seats.
Skirmishes marred polling in some places in Tamil Nadu leaving ond local DMK functionary dead in Dindgul district.
Fifty two percent of the voters turned out in the 14 constituencies of Uttar Pradesh spread across Rohilkhand region and western part of the state which put to test the Muslim-Yadav vote bank of Samajwadi Party.
About 70% turnout was recorded in the 11 constituencies in West Bengal which went to poll on Wednesday and the exercise passed off by and large peacefully except the killing of a local CPI(M) leader allegedly by Trinamool Congress activists.
Chief election commssioner Navin Chawla told reporters here that the overall turnout of voters involving nearly 714 million voters in the five phases was 59-60%.
Prominent candidates in today’s round included home minister P Chidambaram, DMK’s TR Baalu, Dayanidhi Maran and MK Azhagiri, Congress’ Md Azharuddin, BJP’s Maneka and Varun Gandhi and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, MDMK’s Vaiko and SP’s Jayaprada.
Congress’ Mani Shankar Aiyar, Sajjad Gani Lone of People’s Conference, BJP’s Vinod Khanna and Navjot Singh Sidhu were also among the big names in this round that saw a total of 1,432 candidates jumping into the fray.
Besides all 39 seats in Tamil Nadu, elections were held to four seats in Himachal Pradesh, two in Jammu and Kashmir, nine in Punjab, 14 in Uttar Pradesh, 11 in West Bengal, five in Uttarakhand and the lone one seat each in both Chandigarh and Puducherry.
Uttar Pradesh, which returns the highest number of MPs (80), and Jammu and Kashmir were the only two states to go to polls in all the five phases.
Terming the five-phase election as highly satisfactory, Chawla said the exercise was by and large peaceful barring a few incidents.
He said altogether 37 people were killed in the staggered polls, including 23 in poll-related violence. Fourteen people lost their lives in accidents and health problems.
Repoll or adjourned poll was conducted in 648 polling stations in various parts of the country in the first four phases of elections.