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58% polling in Kashmir, Jharkhand records 61% turnout

58% polling in Kashmir, Jharkhand records 61% turnout

New Delhi: The third phase of polling for 16 assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir recorded 58 percent voter turnout, up from 52.13 percent in 2009, Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi said Tuesday.

In Jharkhand, the polling percentage for 17 assembly constituencies was 61 percent, against 54.85 percent in 2009, said another poll panel official Umesh Sinha.

Long queues of voters, including first-timers, were seen at polling booths. The voter turnout in urban areas was good.

"Around 61 percent voting took place in the third phase. The highest polling took place in Silli with 74.77 percent. On three seats, polling was above 65 percent," an election official told IANS.

The lowest turnout was in Ranchi with 44.44 percent, the official said.

The two other constituencies where balloting took place till 5 p.m. - Hatia and Kanke - registered 55.45 percent and 56.27 percent, respectively.

Balloting began Tuesday at 7 a.m. in 17 of the 81 assembly constituencies. The fate of 289 candidates were sealed in the third phase.

Over 50 lakh voters, including 23.5 lakh women, were eligible to elect their representatives at 5,865 polling booths.

Former external affairs minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha cast his vote in Hazaribagh, while Jharkhand Governor Syed Ahmad and Chief Minister Hemant Soren voted in Ranchi.

Former chief minister Babulal Marandi, former assembly speaker C.P. Singh, Jharkhand ministers Annapurna Devi of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Rajendra Prasad Singh of the Congress and Jai Prakash Bhai Patel of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha were among the prominent candidates in this phase.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday appealed to the people to vote for a "strong and stable" BJP government in Jharkhand, and promised an action-oriented and pro-poor governance in return.

Addressing a BJP election rally in the coal city of Dhanbad, Modi said he has confidence in the electorate that it will give its full mandate to the BJP, helping the party replicate its victory in the general election.

"I have faith in you, the voters, that you will ensure full majority for the BJP," he said, ahead of the fourth phase of the assembly polls Dec 14.

Modi said the BJP would ensure good work in the state if it came to power.

Thanks to the "love I am getting from Jharkhand, I am now confident that you have decided to form a BJP government in the state. I thank you in advance for giving such support to me", he said.

"It was Jharkhand's overwhelming support that a stable and strong government was formed after 30 years at the Centre. I appeal you to vote for a stable and strong government led by BJP in the state."

He said the eastern states have plenty of natural resources, "but economic development did not take place in these areas. I have to... improve the situation of the eastern states".

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