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69.43% turnout in 1st phase of LS polls: EC - Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission on Friday put the all-India turnout for first phase of Lok Sabha polls at 69.43%, though this is subject to slight variations as some polling parties are yet to return. According to figures complied by TOI, the corresponding turnout for the 91 constituencies covered in Phase-I was 70.6% in 2014.

While the voting percentage among male voters on Thursday stood at 72.12%, as many as 71.93% of women voters cast their franchise. However, the turnout of third-gender voters was just 17.94% of the total electors registered in the category.

According to updated state-wise polling figures for Phase-I compiled and shared by EC, Telangana recorded 62.69% turnout, Andhra Pradesh 78.14%, Maharasthra 63.04%, UP 63.88%, Uttarakhand 59.89%, Odisha 73.76%, Assam 78.22%, Manipur 82.82%, Tripura 83.26%, Arunachal 67.08%, Meghalaya 71.41%, Mizoram 63.02%, Nagaland 83.12%, J&K 57.35% (including 72.16% in Jammu and 34.71% in Baramulla), Sikkim 78.19%, Lakshadweep 84.96%, West Bengal 83.79%, Andaman & Nicobar 64.85%, Chhattisgarh 65.8% and Bihar 53.47%. Interestingly, polling percentage of women at 68.92% was higher in Arunachal as compared to that for men (65.19%).

More than 24 hours after polling closed for the first phase, many polling parties in Naxal-hit areas of Chhattisgarh and Odisha were still making the trip back from the interior polling stations. The chief electoral officers have confirmed to the Election Commission that all the polling parties are safe in camps and that all precautions are being taken to secure their return journey along with sealed EVMs and VVPATs.

The tentative turnout in Bastar, Chhattisgarh is being put at around 65.8%, an increase of 6.5 percentage points over 59.32% turnout recorded in 2014 Lok Sabha poll. Sources said till Friday evening, as many as 17 polling teams were yet to return. Once they are back and turnout figures for the these polling stations are compiled, the overall polling percentage is likely to go up.

In Maoist-infested Malkangiri too, 6 polling parties had to trek the whole night in dense forests to avoid a possible ambush. They arrived at the hill base on Friday and started moving in a vehicle. There was intelligence of their being 5 stretches vulnerable to ambush along the road route. Three more parties decided to stay back during the night.