New Delhi: The 62-64 per cent turnout of
voters in the first phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh today
was a record, Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi said.
"This is for the eleventh time in a row that recorded a
higher turnout. All the ten previous polls have shown higher
voter turnout compared to the previous times," he said.
Quraishi attributed it to the efforts of the EC to educate
voters and higher enrolment of fresh voters.
"The EC carried out a systematic voter education campaign
and did scientific studies to ensure higher turnout which is
now showing results," he said.
Quraishi said besides voter education and enrolment, the
EC has been asking voters to cast their ballot "ethically and
honestly and not by any seducement and bribe".
To ensure higher voting, he said, the EC had launched a
campaign saying "voting is a precious right and it should be
treated as a duty."
Deputy Election Commissioner Alok Shukla, who is incharge
of elections in UP, said, "Polling in the first phase is at
least 33 per cent higher than the overall turnout in the
previous assembly polls in 2007, which recorded a total
of 46.6 per cent turnout."
Of the total 18,108 polling stations in the first phase,
3,429 were declared hyper-sensitive and 2,123 sensitive.
Shukla said enforcement efforts by the EC helped in
seizure of Rs 33.23 crore unaccounted cash so far in the
state, besides 4,345 illegal weapons and 6,696 cartridges.
Over 2.4 lakh litres of illicit liquor was seized.
UP Chief Electorate Officer Umesh Sinha told reporters in
Lucknow that "This is probably for the first time after
Independence that UP has recorded such a high voter turnout."
He said that while in rural areas average voter turnout
was 65 per cent, it was 55 per cent in urban areas.