Over 60 percent voter turnout in first phase

 

The first phase of the 2009 Lok Sabha elections recorded 58-62 percent voter turnout but was marred by large-scale Maoist violence that claimed the lives of 19 people, including 10 police personnel, the Election Commission said Thursday.

Giving preliminary statistics compiled from 15 states and two union territories where over 143 million people were eligible to vote in the first round, a poll panel official said that the voting percentage ranged from a low 46 percent in Bihar to a high 86 in Lakshadweep island. Nagaland also witnessed a high turnout of 84 percent.

“By and large the elections were peaceful. Overall poll percentage was between 58 to 62 percent. Considering the complexities and difficulties, the elections were largely peaceful,” Deputy Election Commissioner R Balakrishnan said here after the day’s balloting ended.

He said there were sporadic incidents of violence blamed on Maoists in some states – Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand – that left 19 people dead, including nine civilians and 10 policemen, and many more injured.

“There were incidences of attacks on police personnel, poll personnel and polling stations. The central police forces and the state police force handled it very affectively,” Balakrishnan said.

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