Debating India


India Votes

Tuesday 20 April 2004

About 50 to 55 per cent of the 17.5 crore electorate cast their vote in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections in 140 constituencies in 13 States and three Union Territories

An estimated 50 to 55 per cent of the 17.5 crore electorate cast their vote in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections in 140 constituencies in 13 states and three Union Territories as violence by militants and naxalites left 20 people, including a duty magistrate, a freelance journalist and seven naxalites, dead and several injured.

Voting was also held in 344 Assembly constituencies in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Orissa.

1,100 candidates are in the fray for the first of the five phased elections staggered over three weeks upto May 10.

An overview of the States:

Andhra Pradesh: 60 to 65 per cent of the 2.73 crore voters exercised their franchise in the first phase of simultaneous elections to 21 Lok Sabha and 147 Assembly constituencies, which used Electronic Voting Machines for the first time.

An impressive 65 to 70 per cent voter turn-out in extremist-affected Telangana region, while polling was sluggish in the state capital which recorded 50 per cent turn-out.

Assam: 62.98 per cent of the electorate voted for the six constituencies in the first phase polls which was by and large peaceful barring minor incidents of disturbances.

No voter turned up at the ten polling stations of Sapotgram town in Dhubri constituency following a poll boycott call given by a local organisation to protest the poor condition of roads and civic amenities.

Bihar: Four persons, including two RJD supporters and a constable, were killed and several others, including JD-U candidate Sushil Kumar Singh, injured as violence marred polling in 11 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats where the turnout was 55 to 60 per cent.

The vote of Union Minister and BJP candidate for the prestigious Patna Lok Sabha seat C.P. Thakur was cancelled on the ground of breach of secrecy.

Chhattisgarh: About 55 per cent voters out of the 1.37 crore electorate turned out for the 11 Lok Sabha and two Assembly by-polls.

Naxal infested Dantewada district registered the lowest 27 per cent voting. In Dongargaon Assembly segment, the voting was about 70 per cent.

EVMs of 22 booths were looted by Naxalites in Bastar region while six ultras were killed in as many as 20 encounters which left injured four members of paramilitary forces.

Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli: Close to 69 per cent of nearly two lakh voters exercised their franchise where polling passed off peacefully. There were nearly 79,500 voters in Daman & Diu constituency and nearly 1.25 lakh in Dadra & Nagar Haveli.

Karnataka: Amidst stray violent incidents, about 55 per cent of 2.26 crore voters participated in the first phase of simultaneous polls covering 15 Lok Sabha and 120 Assembly segments.

Repolling has been ordered in four polling stations and was likely in 11 others where electoral irregularities were reported.

Gujarat: An estimated 42 per cent of the 3.34 crore voters took part in the Lok Sabha polls for 26 constituencies. The highest polling of 56 per cent was recorded in Junagadh while the lowest of 33 per cent was in Dahod seat.

The voter turnout, which was marred by scorching heat, was nearly five per cent less compared to the 1999 general elections when 47.03 per cent voters had cast their votes.

Re-polling has been ordered in two polling stations of Junagadh and Kheda on April 22, after complaints of bogus voting and presiding officer being allegedly beaten up.

Jharkhand: 45-50 per cent polling was recorded in six of the 14 Lok Sabha constituencies in the the first phase of polling.

External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha escaped unhurt when his car was attacked allegedly CPI activists at a polling booth in his Hazaribag Lok Sabha constituency.

Repolling was ordered in six booths in Hazaribagh, Koderma and Palamu following Naxal disturbance.

Maharashtra: An estimated 53 per cent voters, out of an electorate of 2.41 crore, exercised their franchise in 24 Parliamentary constituencies in the first phase of elections.

Chimur in Vidarbha region registered the highest polling turnout of 62 per cent while Dhule recorded the lowest polling percent of 36.

Manipur: Large-scale violence marred the first phase elections in the state, which recorded 50 to 55 per cent turnout of the 7.95 lakh voters in the Outer Manipur constituency.

Four para-military personnel on poll duty were killed and three others injured in poll-related violence.

Churachandpur district recorded 65 per cent polls followed by Senapati 50, Ukhrul 50, Chandel 50, Thoubal 40 and Tamenglong 45.

Meghalaya: Voting in two Parliamentary constituencies ended on a peaceful note with approximately 51 per cent voters registering their votes.

Shillong Lok Sabha seat recorded about 43 per cent polling while Tura accounted for 60 per cent.

Jammu & Kashmir: Despite stepped up militant attacks, voter turnout went up by over six per cent to 34.50 per cent in insurgency-hit Baramulla while 45 per cent polling was recorded in Jammu in the first phase of Lok Sabha polls.

About 39.50 per cent of the voters cast their ballot in the two constituencies.

National Conference president Omar Abdullah escaped unhurt when militants triggered a powerful landmine blast minutes after his cavalcade passed by in Badgam district. Two people were injured.

Orissa: Nearly 60 per cent of the electorate cast their ballots in the first phase of simultaneous 11 Parliamentary and 77 Assembly segments which was marked by boycott and violence by Naxalites.

The remaining 10 Lok Sabha and 70 Assembly constituencies will go to polls in the second phase on April 26.


in Outlook India, Tuesday, april 20, 2004.

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