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State basks in turnout glory
- Jamshedpur leads with 66 per cent

Ranchi/Jamshedpur, April 18: The Election Commission today revised voter turnout figures for Jharkhand’s second round of elections held yesterday across six constituencies to 63.45 per cent against 61.73 per cent announced earlier, with Jamshedpur leading the pack at 66.38 per cent.

Releasing final poll per cent of three constituencies Ranchi (63.74), Jamshedpur (66.38) and Hazaribagh (63.75), the top poll officer said yesterday’s average of 61.73 was a projection. “The figures released today are based on reports from returning officers,” he stressed.

On an optimistic note, state chief electoral officer P.K. Jajoria said the voting percentage in Jharkhand on its second poll day on April 17 might go up further. “The final poll per cent from Giridih, Singhbhum and Khunti seats is yet to come. We are expecting the final average to be between 65 and 66,” Jajoria added.

But Jamshedpur’s figure, which shows a whopping 15 per cent increase from the 2011 bypoll, makes the Lok Sabha seat with a contrasting mix of urban and rural, industrial and Naxalite-hit Assembly segments a study in voting trends.

Pollsters are wondering if it was the NaMO wave or the voter awareness drives by Tata Steel, Jusco, the Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and the district administration or even the intensified campaigns by MP hopefuls in both rural and urban segments.

For the first time in recent memory, there were long queues of voters in many booths in Jamshedpur’s urban pockets. In booths at Adarshnagar (Adarsh Seva Sansthan premises), Sonari; Swarnmani Vikas Bhavan in Baradwari; Al-Kabir School in Mango and one near MGM Medical College in Dimna, polling continued till 6-6.30pm, well beyond the 4pm deadline.

Around 200 voters were in queue at the Adarshnagar polling booth at 4pm. In Baradwari, 150 people waited for their turn to push the EVM button when the clock struck 4pm. The two posh polling stations registered 70 per cent votes, well over the state average.

The polling station at Blue Bells School on Dimna Road, Mango, saw huge turnout with 1,600 voters.

“Awareness campaigns initiated by corporate houses and SCCI asking people to vote is one of the factors of an increased poll per cent in urban Assembly segments of Jamshedpur. In addition, about 1 lakh young voters enthusiastically came out to vote,” A.K. Singh, a local poll analyst, said.

Singh added that the district administration did a commendable job. “It ensured that shops and business establishments stayed closed on polling day so that more people could exercise their franchise. Tata Steel also declared April 17 a paid holiday. Several companies, including Adityapur ancillary units, followed suit,” he said.

The SCCI had sent around 10,000 SMSes to businessmen and other voters on April 17, appealing they vote with family and neighbours, said its president Suresh Sonthalia.

However, there are significant blips.

Though Jamshedpur’s voter turnout per cent has made a jump from yesterday’s projected 65 per cent to 66.38 per cent, the actual voter turnout in Jamshedpur (West) urban Assembly segment came down to 17,9,222 from 20,0,913. In one day, poll per cent in Jamshedpur (West) tumbled from 64.99 per cent to 57.98 per cent.

In Ranchi Lok Sabha seat, though the poll per cent went up to 63.74 per cent against yesterday’s projection of 58.76, Ranchi Assembly segment showed a marked fall from 57.79 per cent to 53.31 per cent. In voter terms, it means 15,0,688 and not 16,3,395 people cast their franchise.

A similar trend has been noted in Hazaribagh constituency’s Barkagaon Assembly segment, where the figure released yesterday showed 20,4,242 voters but came down to 19,4,042, dragging the percentage down from 64.99 to 57.98.

Till May 16, the figures — and the consolidated ones to arrive after April 24 polls that brings elections in all 14 seats in Jharkhand to an end — should leave analysts combing for micro trends on whether the surge in turnout reflects the might of rural Assembly segments.