Other States

35% voter turnout recorded in Varanasi till 1 pm

An impressive 35 per cent voters exercised their franchise till 1 p.m. in this high-profile constituency where BJP’s Narendra Modi and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal are in the fray even as Congress nominee Ajay Rai landed in trouble after he went to vote wearing his election symbol on his kurta.

35.3 per cent polling was reported till 1 p.m. Higher polling was reported from rural areas while voting in urban areas were relatively low, a senior election official said.

Braving over 40 degree Celsius temperature, people came in large numbers in areas like Nadesar, Ram Nagar and Benaras Hindu University campus as well in Muslim dominated localities within the city, indicating that voting percentage will be much higher then 42 per cent polling in 2009 polls.

The polling began at 7 a.m. amid tight security and Anant Narayan Singh, the present king of Kashi (old name of Varanasi) and Mr. Rai were among the early voters. Around 16 lakh people are eligible to vote out of which around 3 lakh belong to Muslim community.

Returning Officer Pranjal Yadav said no untoward incident has been reported so far from any area and voting has been largely peaceful. Snag in electronic voting machine was reported in some booths early in the morning but they were replaced immediately by the election officials.

Voters at some booths also complained about their names not being on the voter lists.

Early in the morning, Mr. Rai came along with his family members to cast his vote in Ramakant Nagar of Chetganj area, while wearing a badge of Congress election symbol ‘hand’ on his kurta. BJP and AAP protested Rai’s action.

Hours later, Special Election Observer Praveen Kumar sent a report to the Election Commission which asked the authorities here to file an FIR against Rai for flashing of election symbol at the booth. Kumar said Rai violated section 130 of the Representation of Peoples Act.

Defending his action, Mr. Rai claimed that the case against Narendra Modi cannot be compared with his action as the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate had shown his lotus symbol after casting vote in Gandhi Nagar.

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 3:15:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/35-voter-turnout-recorded-in-varanasi-till-1-pm/article6000789.ece

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