Lok Sabha Elections: 50 pc Polling in Phase III

With the mercury soaring to record levels, moderate voting was witnessed in most of the 107 parliamentary segments across nine states that went to polls on Thursday during the Phase III of the staggered five-phase elections for the 15th Lok Sabha.

With speculations and political heat adding to the soaring mercury, most contenders have now started to resign to the fact that the country is headed for another coalition government.

A total of 144 million — of the country’s total 714 million voters were eligible to cast franchise during the third phase which had a total of 1,567 candidates, prominent contenders included Congress president Sonia Gandhi and NDA prime ministerial hopeful LK Advani.

Polling also took place to elect the 32-member Sikkim Assembly.

Minor incidents of violence were reported from several parts of the country while Maost rebels triggered a landmine in the Purulia district of West Bengal, a paramilitary trooper was injured in the attack, ostensibly, launched to disrupt poll proceedings.

Marking the conclusion of the 10-hour exercise, Deputy Election Commissioner R Balakrishnan said: “The entire poll process was absolutely peaceful and extremely satisfactory.”

The Election Commission said initial reports suggest nearly 50 percent polling was recorded on the day, the Election Commission said here Thursday. The first two phases had recorded 60 percent and 55 percent voting respectively.

The poll average, however, could move up a notch or two after details come in.

The Phase III of the elections marks the culmination of poll proceedings on 372 of the total 543 parliamentary segments in the country.

86 seats go to polls on May 7 while the election season would conclude with polls for 85 segments on May 13. The counting of votes is scheduled to commence in the morning of May 16.

Preliminary EC statistics say 45 percent voting was recorded in Uttar Pradesh while in Madhya Pradesh (44-45 pc), Karnataka (57 pc), Maharashtra (43-45 pc), Jammu and Kashmir (30 pc), Bihar (48pc), West Bengal (64pc), Sikkm (65pc) and Gujarat (50pc) voting was recorded.

UP chief minister and Bahujan Samaj Czarina Mayawati said that her party will emerge victorious on a majority of the 80 LS segments in the state even as larger political outfits attempting to extract meaning from the voting trend said that the country was headed for another coalition government.

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