These seats also include the 27 seats lying in the Hindi heartland of west Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana, where the BJP/NDA did exceedingly well during the height of Ramjanambhoomi movement. In addition to this region, there are six seats in Bihar, one in Chhattisgarh, five in Jharkhand, nine in Madhya Pradesh, 10 in Maharashtra and one in Chandigarh where the influence of the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was tested on Thursday. All these areas saw an improvement in the voter turnout from the past years indicating towards a desire for change in the government at the centre after the results are declared on 16 May.
The polarisation of voters along communal lines, as was expected, was visible on the 10 seats of western Uttar Pradesh. The average polling in the riot-affected region, which witnesses a realignment of social and political forces, crossed 60 per cent. Minor incidents of poll violence and communal tension were reported from some of these seats, where polling began at 7 am and ended at 6 pm. In the riot nerve centre of Muzzafarnagar, the polling was to the tune of 67.78 per cent.
In Ghaziabad, former chief of army staff Gen VK Singh is contesting to retain the seat for the BJP.
The national capital too witnessed huge voter turnout with polling touching 65 percent showing an improvement of nearly 12 percent from 2009 Lok Sabha polls. Despite a valiant effort by the Congress candidates, the fight on most of the seven seats looked to be between the BJP and the debutant AAP. The Congress has repeated all its sitting MPs including three ministers in the Manmohan Singh government – Ajay Maken, Kapil Sibal and Krishna Tirath, son of former chief minister Sheila Dikshit – Sandeep Dikshit and a former president of the state unit of the party – JP Agarwal.
In neighbouring Haryana, the voter turnout was 73 percent, where chief minister Bhupinder Hooda’s son Depender is fighting from Rohtak and corporate honcho Naveen Jindal from Kuruskshetra. Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar too is fighting a close battle in the family pocket borough of Sasaram in Bihar to retain the seat for the Congress. In Gurgaon, AAP’s ideologue Yogendra Yadav is locked in triangular battle with sitting MP Rao Inderjeet Singh of the BJP and Rao Dharampal of the Congress.
In an intriguing development, Yogendra Yadav alleged that booth capturing and rigging were done in large scale across Gurgaon constituency. AAP has claimed that 68 booths, a majority of them in Mewat and Rewari districts, were either captured or musclemen cast false votes. Yadav demanded for re-polling in such polling booths and claimed he has a sting tape to prove his allegations.
In Maharashtra, however, where former BJP president Nitin Gadkari is fighting his maiden Lok Sabha battle from hometown Nagpur in Vidharbha region, the voting was comparatively low at 56 per cent. In Madhya Pradesh, the polling was recorded at 55.98 per cent. The island seat of Lakshwadweep recorded over 71 percent polling. Odisha, which went to polls for both the Lok Sabha and assembly seats, saw a turnout of 67 percent voters.