Voters at a polling station in Agartala on Friday. (Photo: PTI)

Defying heat that scorched most of the 102 constituencies spread across 18 states and three Union territories, millions queued up at polling booths to cast their votes in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections, registering a 62.37 per cent voter turnout by 9PM on Friday.

In 2019, turnout in the first phase comprising 91 seats was 69.43 per cent, suggesting dip in total voting percentage. Some of the constituencies were different then and the total number of seats which went to polls were 91.  

The voting percentage is expected to rise as polling went on until after the cut off time on several seats. The Election Commission (EC) said that the final figures will be released on Saturday.  

The poll panel said the voter turnout was high “despite the heat wave”. Polling was also largely peaceful, it said.

However, voting turnout dropped significantly in Nagaland amid a call for a boycott of elections in six districts. Incidents of firing, intimidation, destruction of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) at some polling booths and allegations of booth capturing were reported from conflict-hit Manipur that recorded a turnout of over 68 per cent, the PTI reported.

All of Tamil Nadu’s 39 seats polled with a voter turnout of 72.02 per cent, poll officials said.

In 2019, the voter turnout in Tamil Nadu was 72.44 per cent.

Uttarakhand was another state that saw polling on all its five seats with a voter turnout of 54.06 per cent. In 2019, the hill state recorded a voter turnout of 61.88 per cent.

In Rajasthan, where polling took place on 12 of its 25 seats, the voter turnout was 57.05 per cent. It was 63.89 per cent in 2019 on these dozen seats. The BJP had won 11 of the 12 seats in 2019, with an ally winning one seat. The Congress and its allies are hopeful of denting the BJP in the Shekhawati region’s Churu, Jhunjhunu and Nagaur seats.

On Western Uttar Pradesh’s eight seats, nearly 58.73 per cent voter turnout was recorded. The eight seats had recorded 66.58 per cent voter turnout in 2019.

Voters in some areas of Pilibhit announced a poll boycott to protest the lack of civic amenities. Some also protested against “administration’s apathy” as fear of tigers straying from the adjoining Pilibhit Tiger Reserve continued to lurk.

In Bihar, polling took place on four seats with a provisional voter turnout of 48.23 per cent, which was 53.7 per cent on these seats of Aurangabad, Nawada, Jamui and Gaya in 2019.

On Assam’s five of the 14 seats that polled on Friday, the voter turnout was 72.1 per cent against 78.32 per cent in 2019.

In Bengal, 77.57 per cent turnout was recorded in Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar. The three seats had a voter turnout of 84.79 per cent five years back.

In Arunachal Pradesh, its two seats recorded a voter turnout of 67.15 per cent against 82.11 per cent five years back.

In Madhya Pradesh, where six seats saw voting, the voter turnout was 64.94 per cent. It was 75.26 per cent in these seats.

In Maharashtra, the voter turnout in the five seats that went to polling was 55.84 per cent. It was 64.6 per cent in 2019.

The sharpest drop in voter turnout was recorded from the lone Lok Sabha seat of Nagaland, where only 56.91 per cent of the electorate turned up for voting amid calls of boycott of elections by the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) in six districts. In 2019, the Nagaland Lok Sabha constituency recorded 83 per cent voter turnout.

According to a PTI report from Kohima, nearly 400,000 voters spread over 738 polling stations in the six districts remained indoors in solidarity with the ENPO. 

Polling personnel in six eastern districts of Nagaland waited for nine hours in booths, but not one of the voters turned up following the shutdown call given by the organisation to press for its demand for ‘Frontier Nagaland Territory’, the PTI reported.

At least four EVMs were damaged at different polling booths in conflict-hit Manipur. At one of the polling booths, an EVM was set ablaze by unidentified miscreants. Polling took place for the two constituencies — Inner and Outer Manipur.

Polling is also scheduled in some areas of the Outer Manipur constituency in phase 2 on April 26.

According to the sources, incidents of intimidation and firing were reported from several places in the Inner Manipur constituency. The Inner Manipur Lok Sabha seat, which comprises 32 of the 60 assembly segments in the state, recorded 72.32 per cent turnout, while 15 of the 28 assembly segments of Outer Manipur that went to polls during the day registered a turnout of 62.5 per cent.

In 2019, Inner Manipur recorded a voter turnout of 81.12 per cent, and Outer Manipur 84.14 per cent.

The lone Lok Sabha seat of Mizoram recorded 56 per cent voter turnout. In 2019, the voter turnout was 63.14 per cent. Chief minister and Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) leader Lalduhoma, who has decided to remain equidistant from the BJP-led NDA and the Opposition INDIA bloc, exuded confidence that his party will win the polls.

The poll panel said it peacefully conducted polling in the tribal hinterland of Bastar. Communities in Left Wing Extremist (LWE) affected areas in Chhattisgarh “embraced the power of the ballot over bullet, choosing the path of peace and democracy,” the EC said.

A source of satisfaction for the EC officials was ensuring that the electorate in 56 villages of Bastar cast their vote in a polling booth set up in their village for the first time in a Lok Sabha election.




– 62.37% voter turnout in the first phase of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls; in 2019, polling was 69.43%

– 102 constituencies across 21 states and UTs polled in the first of the 7-phase elections

– The EC described the turnout as “high” and said voting remained “largely peaceful”

– However, incidents of firing, intimidation, and destruction of EVMs at some polling booths  were reported from conflict-hit Manipur that recorded a turnout of over 69.13%

– All 39 seats of Tamil Nadu saw an overall turnout of 72.02%; it was 72.44% in 2019. All 5 seats of Uttarakhand polled with a voter turnout of 54.06% against 61.88% in 2019

– In Nagaland, only 56.91% voters turned up amid calls of boycott in six districts. In 2019, the figure was 83%

First Published: Apr 19 2024 | 11:09 PM IST

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