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High voter turnout on Thursday (April 10) marked polling in the first major day of Lok Sabha elections covering 91 constituencies in 14 states and Union Territories as the exercise entered key battlegrounds of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where three securitymen were killed in a Naxal attack. Delhi recorded its second highest voting percentage of 64.77 in Lok Sabha poll--up by a sharp 12 per cent over the last elections in 2009--for the seven seats for which BJP appears to be riding on "Modi wave" against challenge from AAP and a struggling Congress. Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Bihar witnessed Maoist-related violence which left 2 CRPF jawans and one state policeman dead. The voter turnout this time was substantially higher over the last Lok Sabha elections in all the constituencies. Muzaffarnagar and Shamli in Uttar Pradesh, which had witnessed comunal riots in August last year, recorded "above average" voter turnout of 67.78 per cent and 70.85 per cent, respectively, Deputy EC Vinod Zutshi told reporters in New Delhi. The 10 seats of Uttar Pradesh, which went to polls today, reported a record turnout of 65 per cent as compared to 51.30 per cent recorded in the last LS polls.
Among all the constituencies which went to poll today, Chandigarh recorded the highest turnout of 74 per cent, against 64 per cent in 2009 polls. Kerala, which went to polls in single phase today, recorded 73.4 per cent voter turnout, up from 73.2 per cent last time. Chhattisgarh's Bastar seat witnessed the lowest voterturnout among the 91 seats of 51.4 per cent. But it was higher as compared to 47.33 per cent recorded in the last LS polls. EC maintained that the turnout could be "much higher" in all the seats as final reports were yet to come in with voting still on after the stipulated hours in various areas. Nearly 11 crore people were eligible to exercise their franchise to choose thei representatives from a field of 1,418 candidates. Prominent among those whose electoral fates were decided today are Lok Sabha Speaker Meria Kumar, seven union ministers including Kapil Sibal, Kamal Nath, Shashi Tharoor (all of Congress), former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, RLD leader Ajit Singh, former army chief V K Singh and Harsh Vardhan (both BJP).
In a debate moderated by TIMES NOW's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, panelists -- Dr Subramanian Swamy, Chairman, BJP Strategic Action Committee (for Lok Sabha polls 2014); C R Kesavan, Spokesperson, Congress; Asifa Khan, Leader, BJP; Lord Meghnad Desai, Economist; Vinod Mehta, Editorial Chairman, Outlook and Dr Ajay Alok, General Secy, JD (U) -- discuss whether, big bump in 2014 voter turnout: who's getting the votes?