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Brisk polling in 121 seats, Maharashtra sees 58%

Friday, 18 April 2014 - 6:05am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

Continuing the trend of battering previous voter turnouts, the 5th phase of elections saw an increase of 8.26% for 121parliamentary seats compared to 2009 elections for corresponding seats.

The aggregate voter turnout for 121 seats clocked an impressive 65.45 as against 57.19 in 2009. While who would benefit from this increase is anybody's guess, the larger turnout is usually attributed to anti-incumbency against the political dispensation at the Centre.

This, as was being expected, means bad news for the Congress. But which party or parties would get benefitted from this likely shift across states remains to be seen.

The EC, however, attributes the cascading impact of massive proactive campaigns 'to come out and vote' for this huge turnout.

At the outset, riding the "Modi Wave", BJP seems to be the top contender to cash in on this shift, feel psephologists but they also claim that at the same time issues related to development, key issues of basic necessities like water, electricity, education and roads and caste and religious equations do play a big role in Indian politics where lot of regional parties are gunning for votes.

Barring Manipur that saw a 2% decrease in voter turnout from 77% in 2009 to 75% in 2014, all the other 11 states witnessed a jump from a decent 2% in West Bengal to 24% on the single seat of Udhampur in J&K where Congress candidate Ghulam Nabi Azad is in a tight spot in a triangular contest.

Interestingly, key states of UP, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Bihar witnessed a huge jump of 7.5%, 15%, 10%, 9% and 17% over the last elections in 2009.

Polls for 19 seats in Maharashtra saw a modest increase of 4% in voter turnout (from 54.14% in 2009 to 58%) that should allow Congress to breathe easy and play down the Modi wave factor. Besides fighting anti-incumbency, Congress is up against the BJP, Shiv Sena and MNS in Maharshtra.

While there are no records available for the youth voter turnout, EC officials believe that youth factor played a big role in the increase of polling percentage.

The 5th phase by and large remained peaceful barring a few incidents of disruption in poll process in the Patliputra constituency in Bihar where a case has been registered against Lalu's daughter Misa and her 40 supporters. They are accused of forcibly entering a polling booth. In another incident, polling staff was found conniving with the candidate of a particular party in Patliputra.

In Jharkhand, Maoists tried to disrupt the polls by blowing up a landmine in Bokaro led by an ambush and firing in which three CRPF jawans were injured.

On the contrary, polling in three Maoist affected constituencies of Chhattisgarh remained totally peaceful.

Alert EC observers managed to seize Rs77.63 crore in cash besides impounding 23.73 lakh litres of liquor in 121 constituencies that went to polls on Thursday.

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