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High polling despite naxal attacks in Maharashtra

By Anuj Cariappa

Mumbai, Apr 12: Maharashtra registered 55.97 per cent voting till 5.30 pm across seven constituencies in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections Thursday, officials said.

High polling despite naxal attacks in Maharashtra

Final figures will be announced on Friday as polling was on till 8 pm in some centres, said an election official.

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Additional Chief Electoral Officer Dilip Shinde said no voting could be held at four polling centres in Aheri tehsil of Gadchiroli district due to Naxal "activities".

Repolling will be held at these four places -- Wateli, Gardewada, Gardewada (Puskothi) and Gardewada (Wangeturi).

However, despite at least two blasts and two police-Naxal skirmishes, Naxal-affected Gadchiroli-Chimur Lok Sabha seat witnessed 61.63 per cent voting by 5.30 pm since the commencement of polling at 7 am.

This was the highest voting among seven seats.

Around 60.50 per cent of the electorate cast their votes in Bhandara-Gondiya. In 2014, polling percentage in these two seats was 70.04 per cent and 72.31 per cent, respectively.

Chandrapur recorded 55.97 per cent polling, Ramtek (SC) 51.72 per cent, Wardha 55.36 per cent, Yavatmal-Washim 53.97 per cent and Nagpur 53.13 per cent.

In 2014, final voting in Wardha was 64.79 per cent followed by Chandrapur at 63.29 per cent. The voting in Ramtek was 62.64 per cent, while Nagpur and Yavatmal-Washim had reported 57.12 per cent and 58.87 per cent polling, respectively.

All these constituencies are in Vidarbha region, once a Congress bastion.

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The prominent candidates in these constituencies include Union ministers and senior BJP leaders Nitin Gadkari, (Nagpur) and Hansraj Ahir (Chandrapur).

"There were 14,919 polling centres in the first phase where election for seven seats took place Thursday. Out of it, less than 1.5 per cent centres faced complaints such as minor faults in the EVMs. Overall it was a peaceful process," Shinde said.

A total of 116 candidates were in the fray in these seven seats. As many as 1,33,00,978 voters were eligible to exercise their franchise.

After reports of VVPAT machines not working in Gondiya district, returning officer said the faulty machines were replaced quickly and the polling concluded smoothly.

EVM glitches were also reported from Booth No. 127 (Gadchiroli-Chimur constituency) and Booth No. 147 (Yavatmal-Washim).

The state Congress submitted 50 complaints to the Election Commission about "glitches" in EVMs.

Prominent among those who voted Thursday were RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Gadkari (all in Nagpur) and former Union minister Praful Patel.

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