An impressive 64 percent turnout was recorded for the seven seats in the national capital where BJP is seeking victory riding on 'Modi wave' and AAP and Congress posing a challenge by promising good governance and development. Delhi Election Commission officials said around 64 percent of 1.27 crore eligible voters exercised their franchise till 6 pm and the polling percentage may go up. (JPN/Agencies)
In 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the overall voting percentage was recorded at 52.3 percent, which had increased to 66 percent in the 2013 Delhi assembly election in December last year.
The high-octane campaign for the polls saw BJP, AAP and Congress engaging in a close fight to win the seven seats - considered prestigious due to political symbolism.
The prominent contenders in the fray include Union Ministers Kapil Sibal and Krishna Tirath, Delhi BJP chief Harsh Vardhan, Congress' Ajay Maken, Sandeep Dikshit, Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, journalist-turned- politician Ashutosh and BJP's Meenakshi Lekhi.
Vice President Hamid Ansari, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal were among the early voters.
Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Dev said Delhi will break all records in polling."I am sure a lot of people, including youth and women, will come out and vote," he said.
Meanwhile, about 53 percent of the electorate voted in six Lok Sabha constituencies of Bihar even as two troopers headed for poll duty were killed in a landmine blast, officials said.
"About 53 percent of the electors have voted. The polling was slow in the early hours, but picked up later in the day," Additional Chief Electoral Officer R Lakshaman told media persons after conclusion of voting.
A little over 94 lakh voters were eligible to choose from among 80 candidates, including 10 women, who were in the fray in Maoist-affected constituencies.
Bihar Chief Secretary AK Sinha said a total of 46,000 security personnel, including 22,000 home guards, 74 companies of Bihar Military Police and 163 companies of central para-military forces, have been deployed on election duty.
Sinha said three army helicopters at the disposal of the state government are being used in air surveillance of Maoist-affected areas.
Prominent candidates in the fray are: Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar for Sasaram seat, Bihar Assembly Speaker Uday Narain Choudhary from Jamui, former Kerala governor Nikhil Kumar from Aurangabad, actor-turned politician Chirag Paswan from Jamui and former union minister Kanti Singh from Karakat.
Over half of the electorate voted in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in peaceful polling for the lone Lok Sabha seat, an official said.
"We have recorded 55.01 percent voting," an official of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Chief Electoral Office said over phone from Port Blair, adding that voting was going on even after 6 pm at some of the polling stations.
About 74 percent of 2.43 crore voters exercised their franchise to elect 20 Lok Sabha members from Kerala, where the principal fight is between the ruling Congress-led UDF and the CPI (M)-led LDF.
According to figures put out by the Election Commission shortly before the polling ended, 73.2 per cent of voters turned up in 21,424 polling stations across the state.
Polling started on a brisk note under clear weather, which saw half the electorate casting their votes by noon, but slowed down in the afternoon. Some parts of the state, including the capital city and suburbs experienced summer showers in the afternoon.
Polling was by and large peaceful, barring a minor clash between IUML and CPI(M) activists at Thalora in Thaliparamba assembly segment under Kannur Parliamentary constituency, which left three persons injured.
In 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Kerala recorded a turnout of 73.37 percent which was slightly higher than 71.45 in 2004.
Two persons collapsed and died while standing in the queue and another two while returning home after casting votes in four different constituencies.
Candidates whose fate had been sealed included six Union ministers - Shashi Tharoor, K V Thomas, Kodikunnil Suresh, KC Venugopal and Mullapally Ramachandran (all Congress) and E Ahamed of Indian Union Muslim League.
Prominent LDF candidates in the fray are CPI(M) polit bureau member M A Baby and four sitting MPs of the party – A Sampath, M B Rajesh, P K Biju and P Karunakaran.
Other notable contestants are P C Chacko of Congress, SJD leader M P Veerendrakumar (UDF), former Union minister O Rajagopal (BJP) and film actor Innocent (LDF-independent).
Noted novelist and activist Sarah Joseph and journalist Anita Pratap are prominent AAP contestants.
In 2009, UDF sent 16 MPs, 13 of them from Congress, two from IUML and one from the Kerala Congress (M).
This time Congress has fielded 15 candidates, leaving two seats to IUML and one each to Kerala Congress (M), SJD and RSP, which joined UDF just a month back, snapping its long partnership with the LDF.
In LDF, the CPI(M) fielded 10 party candidates and extended support to five independents, alloting four seats to CPI and one to JD(S).
Barring stray incidents, polling remained peaceful in 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana which witnessed healthy voter turnout of over 73 percent and Union Territory Chandigarh created a record of highest ever poll percentage of nearly 72 percent.
Polling began on a slow note in Haryana this morning but picked up pace as the day progressed and heavy voter turnout was witnessed at various places including Kurukshetra and Sirsa.
"Over 1.6 crore eligible voters were to cast votes in the state," officials said, adding that polling was by and large peaceful.
Long queues were seen outside the booths at most of the places in Haryana, where polling was held in single phase and lone Lok Sabha seat of Chandigarh.
Haryana's Chief Electoral Officer Shrikant Walgad said that over 73 percent of the voters had cast their votes and the polling by and large ended on a peaceful note this evening.
In 2009, the voters' turnout in the state was 68 percent while 65.72 percent in 2004.
Chandigarh's Deputy Commissioner-cum-Returning Officer Mohd Shayin said the Union Territory had recorded highest ever poll percentage in history, as it was set to cross 72 percent even as final figures were being tabulated.
The DC said the voting began on a brisk note and over six lakh voters, including 2.8 lakh women, were eligible to exercise their franchise.
It is a four-cornered contest among candidates of Congress, BJP-HJC BL combine, main opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and new entrant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana.
In Hisar, eight supporters of INLD and Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC-BL) were injured in clash in Azad Nagar area in Nalwa constituency of Hisar parliamentary seat over claims of "bogus voting" in a booth following which voting had to be suspended for a while in the affected booth.
HJC supremo and sitting MP Kuldeep Bishnoi, who is taking on INLD's greenhorn Dushyant Chautala, also received minor injuries on his finger, sources said.
In Haryana, the key candidates among a total of 230 whose fate has been sealed in the EVMs include industrialist Naveen Jindal, Deepender Hooda, Avtar Singh Bhadana, Shruti Chaudhry (Congress), former Union Minister Rao Inderjit Singh (BJP) who is taking on Yogendra Yadav of AAP.
In a departure from the past trends of moderate voting in Chandigarh including 65.45 percent in 2009 (highest), 51.14 percent in 2004 and over 48.35 percent in 1999, three occasions when Bansal had won, people queued up at the booths since morning which included 101-year-old father of BJP contestant Kirron Kher.
An impressive 64 percent turnout was recorded for the seven seats in the national capital where BJP is seeking victory riding on 'Modi wave' and AAP and Congress posing a challenge by promising good governance and development.
Delhi Election Commission officials said around 64 percent of 1.27 crore eligible voters exercised their franchise till 6 pm and the polling percentage may go up.