Scotland referendum on a knife's edge

Edinburgh, Sept 18: The referendum underway on Thursday could witness an unprecedentedly high turnout of voters for Scotland. Nearly 4.3 million people have registered to vote, which translates to 97 percent of those who are eligible to do so.

As they enter a polling booth, the question the voters are asked is: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" The answer had to be "Yes" or "No".

Queues not seen before snaked out of the 5,579 polling stations established for the purpose. Counting of votes will begin soon after the booths close at 2.30 a.m. IST.

Karthik Subramanya, president of the Scottish Indian Arts Forum, said: "From an Indian point of view, clearly a vast majority are backing the 'No' campaign as they see more risk and not sufficient emotional reward."

The leader of the "Yes" campaign and Scottish Nationalist Party leader Alex Salmond, and the unofficial standard bearer of the "Better together" crusade Gordon Brown were out early to cast their votes. But pictures of them outside polling stations were all that could be depicted by media, as sound bites or any reporting of campaigning were debarred on voting day.

The most recent opinion survey published Wednesday night by You-Gov projected "No" supporters at 50 percent and "Yes" supporters at 45 percent, with the rest being "don't knows".


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