Indian newspapers report large voter turnout amid Naxal attacks, boycott call

April 17th, 2009 - 2:58 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Apr 17 (ANI): Indian daily newspapers projected the first phase of 15th Lok Sabha elections as by and large ‘peaceful’ as large number voters came out to cast their votes despite of naxal threat and the fear of communal violence.The first phase of polling witnessed the killing of people in violent incidents at 86 polling stations, mostly in the Naxalite affected areas of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand and Maharashtra.

According to the ‘The Hindu’, in Orissa’a Kandhmal district, which was rocked by communal violence in 2008, victims languishing in relief camps also came out to vote.

The average voter turnout in the district was around 55 per cent, where Naxals had given a poll boycott call. .

Similarly Naxalite-hit areas in Uttar Pradesh scored the highest turnout, the ‘The Statesman’ reports.

The three Naxal-hit constituencies recorded a higher voter turnout than the 13 other parliamentary seats that went to the polls. The polling percentage recorded in Chandauli and Mirzapur was 50 per cent each and in Robertsganj, it was 49 per cent. All three are Naxal-affected districts.

In another strike, two home guards were killed when Naxals attacked a police patrol party in Bihar’s Gaya district. The attackers also looted four police rifles and Electronic Voting Machines.

In Chhattisgarh, the Naxals attacked polling booths in Bijapur and Dantewada districts, the ‘The Indian Express’ reports.

In Maharashtra, a police base camp was attacked at Binagundha in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli District.

Polling was largely peaceful in 1.85 lakh polling stations covering an electorate of over 14.31 crore. A total of 1,715 candidates, including 122 women, were in the fray.

According to the ‘The Asian Age’, the Election Commission of India also expressed satisfaction on the first phase of polls held in 15 States and two Union Territories by describing it “more or less peaceful”.

In the first phase, 58 to 62 per cent of 143 million voters exercised their right to vote.

The Thurdsay’s polls were held for 124 Parliamentary seats, spread over 15 states and two Union Territories and 154 assembly segments in Andhra Pradesh and 70 in Orissa.

The Election Commission stated Bihar witnessed 46 per cent voting, Jharkhand (50 per cent), Chhattisgarh (51 per cent), Jammu and Kashmir (48 per cent), Orissa (53 per cent), Mahrashtra (54 per cent), Kerala (60 per cent), Meghalaya (65 per cent) Andhra Pradesh (65 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (48 per cent, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh (62 per cent), and Lakshadweep (86 per cent). (ANI)

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