Lok Sabha polls | With dip in voter turnout in the first phase, ECI forms task force to oversee heat wave conditions

Officials from the IMD, NDMA, ECI and the Ministry of Health India will review the impact of prevailing weather conditions on health and humidity five days before each phase of polling

April 22, 2024 08:19 pm | Updated April 24, 2024 07:44 am IST - New Delhi

People lined up to cast their vote at a polling booth in Chennai on April 19, 2024.

People lined up to cast their vote at a polling booth in Chennai on April 19, 2024. | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

Possibly concerned that heat wave conditions might have resulted in a dip in voter turnout in the first phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha election, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on April 22 formed a task force comprising officials from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the ECI, the National Disaster Management Authority, and the Ministry of Health to review the impact of prevailing weather conditions on health and humidity five days before each phase of polling.

Also Read: 2024 Lok Sabha elections Phase 1 LIVE: April 24

The poll body had last released official aggregate voting figures of 62.34% till 9 p.m. on April 19 when the first phase of polling was held, and is yet to release the final aggregate figures.

While some reports pegged the turnout at a little more than 65%, there has been no official statement from the ECI.

“The updated data is on the Voter Turnout App and is valid, and may be used for reference,” a senior official said when asked.

While State-wise data is available on the Voter Turnout App, it does not provide an aggregate polling percentage for all the 102 seats spread over 21 States and Union Territories that went to the polls in the first phase.

During the previous General Election in 2019, the first phase’s final aggregate turnout was shared two days after voting via an official statement. The voter turnout for the first phase in 2019 was 69.43%.

One of the main causes for the dip in voting percentage is seen to be the prevailing heat wave conditions in many places.

On Monday, the ECI held a meeting with the IMD and representatives of the Union Home Ministry to understand the developing weather situation and discuss measures to mitigate any risk due to hot weather conditions during the General Election.

The ECI said in a statement that the Director General, IMD had informed the ECI that there was no major concern with regard to heat waves for the second phase of the General Election, scheduled for April 26, and that the weather forecast was normal for the 13 States and Union Territories going to the polls in the second phase.

The Lok Sabha election is being held in seven phases from April 19 to June 1. Counting of votes will take place on June 4.

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