50 per cent turnout in third phase; 3 killed in violence
An estimated 50 per cent of the 10.72 crore electorate on Wednesday voted in the third phase of Lok Sabha elections to 83 seats in seven states that was marred by violence in Jammu and Kashmir and clashes between rival groups in Bihar claiming in all three lives and leaving several injured.
While Nagaland recorded the highest turnout of 75-80%, the lowest was in Anantnag in J&K, which recorded 16%, marginally higher than the 14.32 in 1999.
The turnout in Rajasthan was 52-55%, in Madhya Pradesh 50-55%, Uttar Pradesh 50%, Bihar 45-50% and Arunachal Pradesh 37%, the Election Commission said adding polling was by-and-large peaceful barring stray incidents of violence in Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar and Rajasthan.
While one activist each of the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Janata Dal-United were killed in clashes in Bihar, one person died when terrorists threw a grenade at a polling booth in Anantnag in J&K.
As many as 921 candidates were in the fray for the third phase, which covered 30 out of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh, 25 seats in Rajasthan, 12 out of 29 constituencies in Madhya Pradesh, the last 12 of 40 seats in Bihar, one each in J&K and Nagaland and two in Arunachal Pradesh.
It involved Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (Lucknow), Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav (Mainpuri), Union Ministers Murli Manohar Joshi (Allahabad, UP), Shahnawaz Hussain (Kishanganj, Bihar), Digvijay Singh (Banka, Bihar), Prahlad Patel (Chhindwara, MP), Sharad Yadav (Madhepura, Bihar), Congress veteran Kamalnath (Chhindwara, MP) and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Laloo Yadav (Madhepura, Bihar).
With this polling in Bihar, Rajasthan, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh is complete.