The first substantial round of polling in the Lok Sabha elections started today morning, involving nearly 11 crore voters in 91 seats spread across 10 states and 4 union territories, including Delhi and the national capital region and the riot-hit Muzaffarnagar.
This is the third round in the nine-phased elections which began on April 7 and will conclude on May 12. Tomorrow's round will also cover three Union Territories.
Lok Sabha Speaker Meria Kumar, seven union ministers including Kapil Sibal, Kamal Nath, Shashi Tharoor (all of Congress), Ajit Singh of RLD and former army chief V K Singh and Harsh Vardhan (both BJP) are the key nominees among the 1418 candidates in the fray in tomorrow's round.
Ten of the 80 constituencies in politically key Uttar Pradesh will go to polls tomorrow and they include communally-sensitive and riot-hit Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Kairana, Aligarh, Bijnor, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gautambudh Nagar and Bulandshahar.
An impressive 64.77 per cent turnout was recorded in Lok Sabha polls for the seven seats in the country's 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 per cent of 1.27 crore eligible voters exercised their franchise till 6 pm and the polling percentage may go up as thousands of people are still queuing up in various areas of the city even after the deadline for voting ended.
In 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the overall voting percentage was recorded at 52.3 per cent, which had increased to 66 per cent 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 voting began at 7 AM at over 11,500 polling stations out of which 327 have been declared critical and 90 hyper critical. A total of 1.27 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise which include over 3.37 lakh first-timers. A total of 150 candidates are in the fray.
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.
The election results is likely to set the stage for possible assembly polls in the next few months. BJP may prefer going to assembly polls early if it puts up a good show in the Lok Sabha polls.
The Lok Sabha poll mandate will also reflect AAP's support base in Delhi amidst perceived disillusionment among middle-class voters who had helped the party to make a spectacular debut in assembly polls just five months ago.
Congress has also tried to regain its support base through a series of initiatives in the last four months following its crushing defeat in the assembly polls in which it got just 8 seats.
The Congress had won all seven seats in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
Over 50 per cent polling till 4 pm in 6 LS seats in Bihar
A total of 50.36 per cent votes were cast till 4 pm in six parliamentary constituencies in Bihar which went to the polls today.
The Election Commission in a statement said that Sasaram (SC) seat registered 54 per cent polling, while neighbouring Karakat recorded 51 per cent.
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar is Congress candidate from Sasaram.
Aurangabad witnessed 47.5 per cent voting, while it was 51.64 per cent in Gaya(SC), 49 per cent in Nawada and 49 per cent in Jamui(SC), the statement said.
Voting ended at 4 pm in many parts of the six Lok Sabha constituencies, which were Maoist-hit, while it would conclude at 6 pm in other places.
About an hour and a half before the start of polling, Maoists triggered a bomb blast in Munger, killing two CRPF jawans and injuring three others, when they were on their way to a polling station in Jamui parliamentary constituency.
Voting was put off for a future date in 22 polling stations of Jamui (SC) and Nawada seats in Maoist-hit areas due to security reasons.
In Lakshadweep, the turnout was 71.34 per cent, lower than last time's 85.98 per cent.
Polling in the Lakshadweep Lok sabha constituency in the Lakshadweep Islands began this morning.
There are 44 polling booths in the Island territory comprising 27 islands, of which only 10 are inhabited, including the headquarters island of Kavaratti.
Six contestants are in the fray for the lone seat with a close fight between sitting Congress MP, Hamdullah Sayeed, son of former Union minister, late P M Sayeed and P P Mohammed Faisal of NCP.
Lakshadweep witnessed 41.39 per cent voting till 3 PM, while Jharkhand recorded 38.91 per cent polling till that time, according to Election Commission officials.
Andaman and Nicobar
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands also witnessed a record turnout. Till the last count, it was 67 per cent, higher than last time's 64.15 per cent.
The final percentage might rise, the sources said.
The poll battle was practically a straight contest between the Congress, which won the seat continuously until 2004 with the exception of 1999, and the BJP though there were national level parties like the NCP, BSP, CPI-M, SP and TMC in the contest.
Congress had fielded Kuldeep Rai Sharma while Bishnu Pada Ray, the sitting MP, was the BJP nominee.
Andaman Nicobar recorded 48.98 per cent polling by 3 PM.
Polling began in Andaman in the 386 polling stations spread across the union territory.
An estimated 2,57,856 electorate will choose from the 15 contestants, five of them independents.
The Bengali votes in North and Middle Andamans along with Tamil in South Andamans and Nicobarese in the Nicobar group of islands hold the key to the battle in the multi-cultural island.
About 73.4 per cent 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.
But in many places, voters were queuing up after the 6 PM deadline, as a result of which the final polling percentage is expected to be slightly higher.
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.
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, K C 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.
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).
Besides its persistent failure to open electoral account, BJP has put up candidates in all 20 seats along with minor allies and turned the battle into three-cornered contest in Thiruvananthapuram and Kasargod.
Jharkhand's four seats today witnessed 58 per cent turnout, which was higher than the 50.89 per cent recorded in last general elections.
Polling began for four of the 14 Lok Sabha constituencies in Maoist-affected areas in Jharkhand amidst tight security.
Polling is being held in Palamau (SC), Chatra, Koderma and Lohardaga (ST) and will end at 4 pm.
A total 62 candidates are in the fray today. Prominent among them are BJP candidate former Jharkhand police chief Vishnu Dayal Ram, RJD's Manoj Kumar and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha's Ghuran Ram.
Trinamool Congress is making its debut with former Maoist Baitha contesting as its nominee from the Palamau seat where the Congress has won six times.
The first of the two-phased simultaneous elections to the 10 Lok Sabha and 70 assembly seats in the Maoist belt in Odisha began today amidst tight security in view of the poll boycott called by the extremists.
The constituencies where polling is on are spread over the western and southern areas of Odisha and more than 50 of the 70 assembly segments are in the Maoist-affected areas.
With heat wave conditions intensifying in the areas, many voters were seen queuing up in front of booths since the early hours to avoid the scorching sun later.
The Lok Sabha constituencies where polling is on are Kandhamal, Koraput, Kalahandi, Bargarh, Bolangir, Berhampur, Sundargarh, Sambalpur, Aska, Nabarangpur.
Odisha recorded a total of 42.38 per cent polling till 3 PM.
A low voter turnout of 51.4 per cent was recorded in the insurgency-hit Bastar parliamentary seat of Chhattisgarh, amid violence by Naxals, who had called for poll boycott, leaving a police personnel injured.
Naxals ambushed a team of police personnel escorting a polling party when they were returning after conclusion of polling under Gadiras police station limits of Sukma district in south Chhattisgarh, injuring a state police constable, Sukma Additional Superintendent of Police Neeraj Chandrakar told PTI.
Also, firing was reported near several polling booths and explosives were recovered from separate places in the tribal-dominated seat which went alone to polls in the first phase of parliamentary election in the state.
"As per information, around 52 per cent electorate exercised their franchise in Bastar parliamentary constituency," Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Kujur said.
Polling concluded at 3 PM in seven Assembly seats - Bastar, Chitrakot, Narayanpur, Bijapur, Konta, Kondagaon and Dantewada - of the region while Jagdalpur Assembly seat witnessed polling till 4 PM, he said.
Voting did not take place in Polampalli polling station of Konta region of Sukma district due to fault in EVM machine, he said.
A total of 26 EVMs were replaced during the electoral process in Bastar due to fault in these machines, he said.
"22 Electronic Voting Machines were replaced before polling, 3 during mock poll while one after voting was started," he said.
Earlier, the explosives - 15 IEDs, 10 kg each - were unearthed this morning by a joint patrol squad of Border Security Force and district force from Nelnar area of Narayanpur district.
Later, owing to security reasons, the Nelnar polling booth was shifted to a nearby place Akabeda, he said.
In a separate incident, three pressure bombs were recovered from Bhansi police station limits of Dantewada district by a local police team.
In another incident late last night, a Naxal was gunned down and another injured in an encounter with security forces in Sukma district.
The electoral process in 53 polling stations was under surveillance through webcasting cameras, Kujur said.
According to a senior police official, Naxal firing was reported in polling booths of Korra and Amirgarh in Sukma district, Samoli and Thanikarka booths in Dantewada, Nednar booth of Narayanpur district, Padeli and Raigabodi booths of Kondagaon district.
"However, no injuries or causalities were reported in these incidents," the official said.
Eight candidates, including two women, are in the fray for the lone Bastar seat, which went to polls today.
Of the 1,797 booths in Bastar, 1,407 booths were marked as 'critical' and all steps were taken to ensure free and fearless polling there, the official said.
BJP has once again fielded its old face and sitting MP Dinesh Kashyap while Congress has reposed faith in Deepak Karma whose father Mahendra Karma, founder of Salva Judum movement, was killed in the Jiram valley Naxal attack on May 25 last year.
However, with entry of AAP candidate Soni Sori, a tribal teacher from Dantewada region, the contest this time has become three-cornered.
The other candidates in fray are Manbodh Baghel (BSP), Shankar Ram Thakur (SP), Vimla Sori (CPI), Devchand Dhruv (CPI (ML)) and Arjun Singh Thakur (Ambedkarite Party of India).
62.3 per cent voting was recorded in the ten Lok Sabha constituencies in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra where polling was held today, State Election Commission sources said.
No incident of violence was reported in this first phase of elections in the state. The polling was mostly peaceful even in the Naxal-affected Gadchiroli district, they said.
Final polling percentages in the ten constituencies were as follows: Buldhana: 58.66, Akola: 65.00, Amravati: 65.00, Wardha: 61.00, Ramtek: 62.00, Nagpur: 59.00, Bhandhara- Gondiya: 65.00, Gadchiroli-chimur: 65.00, Chandrapur: 63.00 and Yavatmal-Washim: 60.00
Further, in the by-election to Risod Assembly constituency, 62.10 per cent voting was registered.
Today's elections would decide the fates of former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister Praful Patel (NCP), former minister of State Vilas Muttemwar (Congress) and Shivajirao Moghe (Congress), among others.
Amid tight security, the voting was mostly peaceful, even in the Naxal-affected Gadchiroli and parts of Bhandara and Gondia districts, authorities said.
Vidarbha-- the cotton belt of Maharashtra which has been infamous for large number of farmer suicides for over a decade besides the rising Maoist menace-- accounts for 10 of the total 48 Parliamentary constituencies in the state.
About 1.63 crores voters are expected to exercise their franchise towards 201 candidates in the poll fray for this backward region, which has been traditionally a Congress stronghold.
The constituencies where polling is underway since 7 AM are Nagpur, Ramtek, Bhandara-Gondia, Gadchiroli, Chandrapur, Akola, Amravati, Buldana, Wardha and Yavatmal-Washim.
A high voter turnout of over 65 per cent was recorded in the Maoist-hit Gadchiroli Lok Sabha constituency, where people defied the Naxals' call for boycott of polling.
A group of Naxals opened fire on a polling party at Jambia Gatta in south Gadchiroli while it was returning to the district headquarters.
The polling time was curtailed due to security reasons. The polling began in the Naxal hotbed at 7 AM and ended at 3 PM.
In Nagpur city, the polling was brisk in the morning.
Long queues were seen at the polling booths in areas such as Depti Signal and Mominpura in the city, which have a sizeable Muslim population.
In some places, EVM malfunctioning was reported, resulting in a halt to polling for about one and half hours.
In some areas like Wardhaman Nagar, a few complaints of names missing from voters list were received, authorities said.
Gopal Pande, a middle-aged man, collapsed soon after casting his vote at a polling booth in Desaiganj in Gadchiroli district, official sources said. He was taken to the hospital.
Young voters were also seen in large numbers.
BJP leader Nitin Gadkari -- who is contesting from Nagpur -- accompanied by his wife Kanchan and other members of family cast his vote in the morning.
Sitting Congress MP Vilas Muttemwar, wife Chhaya and family members also exercised their franchise in the morning.
The city also saw a visit by British High Commissioner Sir James David Bevan, who said he wanted to "experience" the polling process.
He went to Gadkari's Mahal residence and spent nearly half and hour, after arriving here. Later he visited some polling centres and met the Returning Officer Abhishek Krishna. He called on Muttemwar too.
Political stalwarts whose fate will be shut in ballot boxes today include Union Heavy Industries Minister and NCP leader Praful Patel (Bhandara), former BJP national president Nitin Gadkari (Nagpur), seven-time Congress MP and former Minister Vilas Muttemwar (Nagpur), AICC General Secretary and former minister Mukul Wasnik and two Congress Ministers Shivajirao Moghe (Yavatmal) and Sanjay Deotale (Chandrapur).
AAP veteran leader Wamanrao Chatap (Chandrapur) and Anjali Damania are also among the prominent faces in the poll run this time.
Also, Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of great Dalit leader Babasaheb Ambedkar, is contesting from Akola constituency.
BJP-Shiv Sena alliance's sitting MPs Hansraj Ahir (Chandrapur), Anandrao Adsul (Amravati), Sanjay Dhotre (Akola) and Bhawana Gawali (Yavatmal) too are testing their luck.
Haryana / Chandigarh
Barring stray incidents, polling remained peaceful in 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana which witnessed healthy voter turnout of over 73 per cent today and Union Territory Chandigarh created a record of highest ever poll percentage of nearly 74 per cent
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 told PTI over phone that over 73 per cent 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 per cent while 65.72 per cent 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 per cent even as final figures were being tabulated.
He said the polling, which started at 7 AM, remained peaceful in Chandigarh and queues could be seen inside booths even after the deadline for polling ended at 6 pm.
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 per cent in 2009 (highest), 51.14 per cent in 2004 and over 48.35 per cent 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.
According to a report, voters in Kakaut village in Kaithal district today boycotted the Lok Sabha poll to protest against the inclusion of their village in Kalayat assembly constituency in the last delimitation and demanded reinclusion in Kaithal assembly constituency.
There was a great enthusiasm among first-time voters and in Chandigarh's rural areas. Out of the total electorate, nearly 60 per cent fell in age group of 18-40 years.
There are 17 candidates in the fray from Chandigarh LS seat, including former Railway Minister P K Bansal (Cong), who is seeking re-election for the fifth term and pitted against three women in the four-cornered contest.
However, two prominent women pitted against Bansal are actor-turned-politician Kirron Kher of BJP and actor and former Miss India Gul Panag of AAP. Kher and Panag are not registered as voters in Chandhigarh. The other prominent woman candidate in the fray from here is BSP's Jannat Jahan-ul-Haq.
Bansal accompanied by his family members, cast his vote in Sector 28 polling booth this morning while Kirron Kher, who has her vote in Mumbai, accompanied her 101-year-old father and other family members to a polling station in Sector 8.
In Haryana, HJC chief Kuldeep Bishnoi was among those who cast their vote early. He was accompanied by his MLA-wife Renuka and other family members and exercised franchise at Adampur in Hisar district.
AAP's leader and Gurgaon candidate Yogendra Yadav cast his vote in Saharanwas village in Rewari district while greenhorn and INLD candidate from Hisar, Dushyant Chautala in Sirsa.
Congress' candidate from Rohtak Deepender Singh Hooda, son of Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda, missed his date with the ballot as he was undergoing treatment at All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) in New Delhi, for his back ailment, sources said.
Chief Minister Hooda accompanied by his wife Asha and other family members cast votes in their native village Sanghi in Rohtak district.
Officials said polling had to be stopped briefly at two polling booths in Ambala Parliamentary constituency due to malfunctioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM).
Aam Aadmi Party's Rohtak candidate Naveen Jaihind also alleged that he was threatened by two unidentified motorcycle-borne miscreants with dire consequences.
Jaihind said he had been given life threat by the two accused this morning near Pandit Neki Ram Government college here when he was close to a polling booth.
"They stopped me and threatened to teach me a lesson after the polls get over," 32-year-old Jaihind, who is taking on Chief Minister's son Deepender Singh from Rohtak, told PTI over phone.
In Haryana, Naveen Jindal, Arvind Sharma and Avtar Singh Bhadana were seeking third term from Kurukshetra, Karnal and Faridabad LS seats respectively.
Congress nominee of 2009 general election and former Union Minister Rao Inderjit Singh is also trying to enter the Lok Sabha for the third successive term, but this time on the nomination of saffron party BJP, which he has joined recently after severing his ties with the Congress.
AAP's chief spokesman for Haryana, Rajeev Godara said the party had brought to the notice of Election Commission incidents of "heavy polling per centage recorded in some villages in Mewat district falling under Gurgaon parliamentary constituency, raising suspicion of bogus votes being cast".
Meanwhile, if poll percentage crosses 73.26 per cent in Haryana, it could be the highest ever voter turnout.
Haryana was carved out as a separate state from the then joint Punjab in 1966. In 1967, poll percentage was 72.61 per cent, in 1977 it was highest ever at 73.26 per cent, in 2004 when Congress swept the polls, it was 65.72 per cent and in 2009, again when Congress performed well, it was 67.48 per cent. The lowest poll per centage in Haryana was 64.35 per cent in 1971.
Meanwhile, three Congress nominees Deepender Hooda (Rohtak), Shruti Chaudhary (Bhiwani Mahendargarh) and Ashok Tanwar (Sirsa) and HJC-BL chief Kuldeep Bishnoi were attempting to enter the parliament for the second successive term.
From Sonipat, Congress had fielded its Gohana MLA Jagbir Singh Malik after party's sitting MP Jitender Malik opted out of the race.
BJP fielded former MP, R L Kataria from Ambala (SC) while AAP's Yogendra Yadav had jumped into the fray from Gurgaon.
Of the 10 Lok Sabha seats, at present Congress has nine MPs while Haryana Janhit Congress has one MP from the Hisar constituency.
Haryana had 16,240 polling stations, including about 11,700 in rural areas.
The Chief Electoral Officer Walgad said that about 50,000 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were used for voting in the State which include 18,000 control units and about 32,000 ballot units.
He said that maximum number of 41 candidates were contesting from Hisar Parliamentary seat whereas the least number of 14 candidates each were in fray from Ambala and Rohtak Parliamentary constituencies.
Walgad said that candidates include eight of BJP, 10 of BSP, two of CPI, three of CPM, 10 each of INC and INLD, two of HJC (BL), 64 of other registered Political Parties and 121 Independent Candidates.
Around 70 per cent voting was reported in the Gurgaon parliamentary constituency, where polling was peaceful.
Returning Officer-cum-Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner Shekhar Vidyarthi said no incident of violence or rigging was reported from any part of the constituency and the polling was completely free and fair in the constituency, where as many as 22 candidates are in the fray.
Prominent candidates are Rao Dharamapal of Congress, three-time MP Rao Inderjit Singh of BJP, Jakir Hussain of INLD, Yogendra Yadav of AAP, and Dharampal of BSP.
During the last Lok Sabha election, this parliamentary constituency had reported 61.7 per cent voting, thereby registering an increase of around 8.3 per cent this time, Vidyarthi said.
The Nuh Assembly segment registered the highest polling percentage at 75.6 per cent and Gurgaon the lowest at 65.5 per cent.
Giving details, Vidyarthi said, Nuh Assembly segment registered 75.6 per cent, Ferojpur Jhirka 73.8, Punhana 72.5, Sohna 71.4, Pataudi 71.1, Bawal 69.9, Rewari 69.8, Badshapur 67.2, and Gurgaon 65.5 per cent.
Meanwhile, AAP candidate Yogendra Yadav alleged large-scale rigging and booth capturing in various parts of the constituency.
Yadav, along with AAP leader Prashant Bhushan, at a post-poll press conference here said around 103 booths falling in three Assembly segments of Mewat district -- Nuh, Ferojpur Jhirka and Punhana -- witnessed bogus voting, booth capturing and ragging in large-scale.
Some booths in Sohna and Rewari Assembly segments also witnessed ragging, Yadav alleged.
He also claimed that despite complaints to the Returning Officer-cum-Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner, sector magistrates and other concerned officials, no action was taken to check the malpractices.
Over 65 per cent polling was recorded in 10 constituencies of western Uttar Pradesh, including riot-hit Muzaffarnagar, so far.
Riot-hit Muzaffarnagar recorded 68.78 per cent voting and Shamli recorded 70.85 per cent.
The vote percentage in 2009 polls in these districts was 51.30 per cent while in 2012 assembly polls the percentage was 68.27 per cent.
According to EC sources, Saharanpur witnessed 73.43 per cent polling.
Besides, 69.40 per cent voting was recorded in Kairana, 68.78 per cent in Muzaffarnagar, Bijnore 66.05 per cent, Meerut 68.08 per cent, Baghpat 67.20 per cent, Ghaziabad 60 per cent, Gautam Buddha Nagar 62.67 per cent and Aligarh 61.60 per cent.
The electoral fortunes of 146 candidates were sealed in the EVMs today in the 10 Lok Sabha seats, where a total of 1.74 crore voters -- 95.96 lakh men and 78.37 lakh women --were eligible to exercise their franchise.
Uttar Pradesh recorded 44.74 per cent voting at 3 PM, as against 35.22 per cent till 1 PM.
Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad district witnessed 60 per cent voter turnout in the Lok Sabha polls, as fate of former Army chief V K Singh, Congress' Raj Babbar and Shazia Ilmi of AAP was sealed in electronic voting machines.
"The voting percentage has been increased from 44 per cent in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls to 60 per cent in this election. District Administration ran awareness programmes at large level in schools and colleges to aware youths of their voting rights," Ghaziabad District Magistrate SVS Ranga Rao told PTI.
Meanwhile, BJP's V K Singh alleged that supporters of Samajwadi Party captured three booths at Nurpur village under Dhaulana Assembly constituency for one hour.
"We have lodged a complaint against this in Election Commission and hope that they will take due action," Singh said at a press conference today evening.
Long queues were witnessed outside several polling booths in different parts of the district as men, women and elderly turned up in large numbers after polling began at 7 AM.
Loni recorded 60 per cent polling, Muradnagar 62 pc, Sahibabad 56 pc, Dhaulana 61 pc and Modi Nagar 64 pc.
In 2009 Lok Sabha polls, only 44 voting percentage voting was recorded.
The district, with an almost even division of rural and urban voters, has BJP's V K Singh, Congress' Raj Babbar, AAP's Shazia Imli and BSP's Mukul Upadhyay in fray among 11 others.
Satish Kumar Singh, a police personnel posted in Chhabil Dass Public School polling station at Patel Nagar area, said voters' turnout had been impressive as youth came to vote in large numbers.
The voting was largely peaceful, prompting a police personnel posted in Rajnagar's Schiller School polling station to say,"I have never seen such a smooth and peaceful polling in my 12 years of service."
Among various demands, voters hope that their elected representative would ensure jobs for youth, benefits for the poor and control price rise.
Ritu (23), a first-time voter from Patel Nagar area, said she came to cast her vote to ensure that the poor get some benefit and the youth get jobs.
Accompanied by a relative, Rammati, a septuagenarian visually-challenged woman, said she has voted to "ensure that price of essential commodities do not rise further."
The district administration has identified 177 polling booths as 'critical' out of the total 2,172 booths.
Bettering records of the previous five Lok Sabha polls, Jammu Lok Sabha seat today registered 68 per cent polling.
However, sporadic clashes were witnessed in which four persons were injured and in 4 polling stations people boycotted election.
"Around 68 per cent electorate cast their vote in today's polling for Jammu-Poonch parliamentary constituency which concluded this evening," Chief Electoral Officer, Umang Narula told reporters.
He further said that the poll turnout is likely to go up when entire process is compiled and completed.
Narula said 70 per cent votes were cast in Jammu district, 75 per cent in Samba district and figures of polling are being received from Rajouri and Poonch districts which would add up the final poll percentage tally subsequently.
In 2009, 49.71 per cent polling was recorded in Jammu Lok Sabha constituency. Today's polling is 18.29 per cent more than the polling percentage of last election.
He said the polling was held in a peaceful atmosphere and so far no untoward incident was reported from any part of the constituency.
The Chief Electoral Officer said 10,000 personnel were posted for election duty and 800 vehicles were used to ferry them and poll material.
He said the Election Commission had deployed five observers including three General Observers, one Expenditure Observer and one Police and Security Observer. Besides, he said the Commission has deployed 201 Micro Observers and webcasting of 60 booths was also done.
Narula said the Commission had set up 2,274 polling booths at 1,582 locations out of which 68 were declared as critical. He said 2,274 electronic machines were used for the purpose. He said video recordings were also done to ensure free and fair polls.
The CEO said 19 candidates were in the fray for the constituency which comprised 18,48,553 electors including 8,71,212 female and 97,7328 male voters.
In Gursia polling station in Mendhar teshil of Poonch district a clash broke out between polling agents of PDP and NC resulting in injury to one PDP worker, police said.
In Cherian polling station of Rajouri district, there were clashes between polling agents resulting in injuries to three persons.
In Poonch, people boycotted polling at four polling station of Mandi, Baila, Arichul and Marnote in protest against the inclusion of area in Surankote assembly segment, while the area has been a part of the Poonch Assembly segment in the past.
Senior district officials have rushed to the area to pacify the voters. No votes were polled in these polling stations, they said.
Madhya Pradesh recorded a 60.08 per cent poll turnout at nine Lok Sabha seats .
Polling was peaceful with no major untoward incidents reported from anywhere.
Out of the total 60.08 per cent voters, 62.18 were men and 57.80 were women, until 8.30 pm, Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Office sources said.
However, the final figure would go up further, sources said.
According to electoral office, the polling percentage in Satna was 53.77 per cent, Rewa (53.99 per cent), Sidhi (56.45 per cent), Shahdol (60.79 per cent), Jabalpur (48.14 per cent), Mandla (65.53 per cent), Balaghat (62.52 per cent), Chhindwara (70.93 per cent) and Hoshagabad (65.01 per cent).
Maximum voting was recorded at Union Minister Kamal Nath's constituency in Chhindwara, where 70.93 per cent voters including 77.46 per cent men and 69.30 per cent women exercised their franchise.
Prominent among those contesting during the first phase of polls in nine constituencies, out of 29 constituencies in the state, are union minister and Congress stalwart Kamal Nath and late Arjun Singh's son, MLA Ajay Singh.
While incumbent Nath is pitted against Choudhary Chandrabhan Singh of the BJP in Chhindwara, Ajay Singh is taking on present BJP MP Ganesh Singh from the Satna seat.
Other key contestants include former Madhya Pradesh attorney-general Vivek Tankha, who is in the race as a Congress nominee from Jabalpur constituency, where he is battling present MP Rakesh Singh of the BJP.
ADR Report on Criminal and Financial Background Details of Contesting Candidates:
Phase 3 - Criminal and Financial Background Details of Contesting Candidates