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Maharashtra voter turnout much lower than expected

Thursday, 10 April 2014 - 6:47pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: IANS

The voter turnout fell below expectation in all the 10 Lok Sabha constituencies in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra which went to polls Thursday, officials said.

Bhandara-Gondiya constituency recorded the highest turnout 53% till 3 pm, a state election commission official said.

The biggest constituency in terms of voters, Nagpur recorded only 48% voting till 3 pm, while Akola constituency notched the lowest at 39%.

Only 40% of the voters turned out in Yavatmal-Washim constituency.

Among other constituencies, Ramtek recorded 40.3%, Chandrapur 43.49%, Buldhana 44%, Amravati 46% and Wardha 42%.

The Maoist-affected Gadchiroli-Chimur constituency recorded 59% polling, where people came out in unexpectedly large numbers to exercise their franchise.

Officials attributed the low turnout to the scorching heat in eastern Maharashtra, where afternoon temperatures Thursday recorded between 38 and 40 degrees Celsius and touched up to 45 degrees Celsius in some areas.

"Many people preferred to take advantage of the cool morning and evening hours, but most of the people stayed away during afternoon," said officials.

A total 201 candidates, including 15 women and 90 Independents were in the electoral fray in the first phase of polling in the state, which went off peacefully under tight security.

Around 46,000 voters' names were reported missing in Amravati, following which Shiv Sena activists staged a sit-in protest outside the collector's office.

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