23,000 villages ‘vulnerable’ in first phase voting

April 14th, 2009 - 9:25 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 14 (IANS) As many as 23,000 villages that go to polls in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections Thursday have been identified as “vulnerable” from a security point of view, the Election Commission said Tuesday.
The poll panel has made adequate security arrangements to ensure free and fair elections, Deputy Election Commissioner R. Balakrishnan said.

Campaigning for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections came to an end Tuesday in 15 states and two union territories.

A total of 1,715 candidates, including 122 women, are in the fray for the 124 seats in the first of the five-phase election. According to the Election Commission, as many as 14.31 crore people are eligible to vote in the first round of voting.

At least 900,000 officials would oversee the arrangements for the Thursday voting.

Balakrishnan said the commission had taken inputs from the candidates to deal with security threats related to the polls.

Elections to 154 and 70 assembly constituencies in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, respectively, will also be held Thursday.

Timing of the voting varies in different locations.

Polling will take place between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the areas identified as Maoist affected, Balakrishnan said.

In some locations in the northeast, the voting will be held between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. In other constituencies, the elections will be held between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The states going to the polls are: Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

The two union territories are Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.

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