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Web-casting spurred high turnout, saysEC

Saturday, 12 April 2014 - 9:15am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

Even as political analysts and psephologists attribute the high turnout in the third phase of Lok Sabha election on April 10 to a variety of reasons, the Election Commission it self says that an increased number of voters came out to vote because it of a secure environment due to live web-casting and videography.

The average turnout in western Uttar Pradesh for Thursday's poll was 66% compared to the 2009 average of 51.3% for the region. Other voting regions, such as Kerala,Chhattisgarh, Chandigarh, etc too saw a comparatively high turnout; Delhi's witnessed a three-decade best turnout at 65.05%. While some give credit to a Modi wave, others say it is because of the youth and first-time voters influenced by AAP that the turnout was so high. Yet others say that it is the result of polarisation over Muzaffar nagar or because people are fed up of the Congress' scam-ridden governance.

When votes were being polled at more than 1.1 lakh polling stations on April 10, the Commission kept a hawk's eye on more than 4,000 critical polling stations through live web-casting. Introduced for the first time in India, live web-casting not only kept polling agents of various parties under check, but also made the polling staff work efficiently without favour or fear, believes Election Commission.

Commission officials concede that theywere wary of communally-sensitive situation prevailing at various polling locations, especially in the constituencies of Muzaffar nagar,Shamli, Baghpat, Meerut, Bijnore and Saharanpur of western UP andalso in several locations in Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, MP and Kerala.

"Our effort was to install live web-casting in as many critical polling booths as possible to keep atab on situation inside the booths. Though a little tardy, the effort did not go in vain as we managed get 423 locations on live web-casting in western UP alone," a deputy election officer in-charge of Western UP told dna.

He credited web-casting and video graphya long with presence of posse of paramilitary forces, observers and micro observers for instilling confidence among minority community to come and vote even in hyper sensitive locations.

"One reason for the huge increase of 14% in polling in sensitive constituencies was these measures. They gave voters confidence to come and cast ballot," he said.

Polling in western UPAligarh: 61%

Baghpat: 66%

Bijnore: 66%

Bulandshahr: 60%

Kairana: 69%

NOIDA: 59%

Meerut: 63%

Muzaffarnagar: 69%

Shamli: 71%

Saharanpur: 72%

Average: 66%

2009 average: 51.3%

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