Maharashtra records 54 percent voter turnout (Lead)

April 16th, 2009 - 8:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, April 16 (IANS) Maharashtra witnessed 54 percent voter turnout in 13 Lok Sabha constituencies that went to polls in the first phase Thursday, an election commission official said.
Voting, which started on a dull note at 7 a.m., failed to pick up even after four hours with the figure at just above 14 percent at noon.

However, brisk polling was witnessed in the post-lunch hours and 39.82 percent voting was recorded till 3 p.m., the official said. The final figure touched 54 percent by 5 p.m. when the polling end.

Barring one Maoist attack, that was foiled in a pre-dawn gunbattle, there were no other major poll-related incidents during the day, he said.

The guerrillas were seen approaching the booth in Kondavahi village at 5 a.m. Thursday, two hours before elections were to begin, but were chased by security forces.

Due to retaliatory fire by the security forces, the rebels dropped their arms and escaped into the jungles. However, polling started normally and proceeded smoothly.

Around 1.81 crore (18.1 million) voters were eligible to vote and 246 candidates were in the fray.

The polls will unravel the fate of three ministers from the ruling Congress-led-United Progressive Alliance - Praful Patil, Suryakanta Patil and Vilas Muttemwar.

The 13 constituencies where polls took place are in eastern Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region.

The constituencies that went to polls are: Akola, Amravati, Buldana, Wardha, Ramtek, Nagpur, Bhandara-Gondia, Gadchiroli-Chimur, Yavatmal-Washim, Chandrapur, Nanded, Parbhani and Hingoli.

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