Sikkim records over 56 percent polling in eight hours (Third Lead)

April 30th, 2009 - 6:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Gangtok, April 30 (IANS) Over 56 percent polling was recorded by 3 p.m. in Sikkim, where elections were underway Thursday for the one Lok Sabha and 32 assembly constituencies.
However, according to joint chief electoral officer (CEO) C.P. Dhakal, the turnout could be as high as over 75 percent since most of the polling stations had still not reported with updated data.

In the east district, 71,761 people had cast their votes by 3 p.m. - which was 62 percent of the total electorate, in the south district, 47,286 votes were cast or 67 percent, while in the west the percentage was 56.61 percent by 3 p.m. this afternoon.

In north Sikkim, 66.88 percent had been recorded by 1 p.m.

Dhakal said the percentage of voting was the highest, compared to the previous elections. He also said that the medium turnout in West Sikkim was along expected lines since people had to come from far flung and remote areas. “By the closing time, we expect to see higher voting in the west district as well,” he said.

Voting in various polling booths in constituencies like Chujachen and Khamdong-Singtam - both in the east district - was set to continue well after the closing time of 5 p.m. as long queues were waiting outside.

Some of the voting booths in south and east districts were closed before the 5 p.m. deadline as all the voters had cast their ballots by 4 p.m.

The fate of 168 candidates in the fray for the assembly polls and five candidates for the Lok Sabha seat will be decided by 300,584 people - 157,361 men and 143,223 women.

The ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) seems set to make a clean sweep in the south district with even polling agents of opposition parties including the Congress missing from most of the booths. Chief Minister Pawan Chamling is standing from two constituencies in the area.

A first time voter from Sikip-Wok in south Sikkim said: “I decided to caste my vote for the SDF since everyone there was doing the same. We did not meet any opposition agents in the polling booths which could have made me think otherwise.”

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