The curtains came down on Monday on the marathon Lok Sabha elections with an all—time record high turnout of 66.38 per cent, as the final phase of polling covering 41 constituencies in three States replicated the trend of increased voters’ participation seen in the previous 8 rounds.

The overall turnout in all the nine phases of polling this year stood at 66.38 per cent, posting the highest in the history of Lok Sabha elections, surpassing the previous best of 64.01 per cent in 1984 in the wake of the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The turnout in 2009 was 58.19 per cent.

The polling on Monday for 18 seats of Uttar Pradesh, 17 in West Bengal and six in Bihar was by and large peaceful barring stray incidents of violence in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal which left 13 people injured.

The highest polling was recorded in West Bengal, where stakes are high for the Trinamool Congress hoping to retain all the 14 of the 17 seats decided in the last phase and gain a few more in its final push to position itself as a key player nationally post elections.

Bihar registered the second highest turnout in the last round with 58 per cent, followed by Uttar Pradesh with 55.29 per cent.

Varanasi seat

The turnout in Varanasi, one of the the most high—profile constituencies where Narendra Modi is pitted against AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal and Congress’ Ajay Rai, was pegged at 55.34 per cent. It also witnessed a controversy over Rai displaying his party’s poll symbol, following which an FIR was registered against the Congress nominee.

Over nine crore voters were eligible to seal the fate of 606 candidates, including Modi, Kejriwal and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav (Azamgarh) in the ninth phase of polling.