Voter turnout continued to be low as the Election Commission of India (ECI) reported till 7 pm on Friday that the second phase of the General Election recorded around 61 per cent polling. According to ECI’s Turnout App, Tripura saw over 78.6 per cent polling while Uttar Pradesh recorded the lowest at 54.7 per cent.

These numbers would change, as was experienced in the initial rounds of polling for the first phase. The initial number in the first phase was around 60 per cent while the final number went over 66 per cent. Figures for the second phase in 2024, however, are not exactly comparable with the same phase of the 2019 election as this year polling took place for 88 seats in 13 States and Union Territories while five years back, it was held for 97 seats in 13 States and Union Territories. Still, it may be noted that second phase voters’ turnout was over 69 per cent in 2019.

Final figure for the second phase, which will be made public on Saturday, is expected to be higher.

The commission said that voting was peaceful. Arrangement was made for 16 crore voters to cast their votes in 1.67 lakh polling stations. Key candidates during second phase were Congress leader Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad in Kerala, Congress’ Shashi Tharoor and BJP leader and Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar from Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, Former Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel from Rajnandgaon, BJP leader and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla from Kota (Rajasthan), Congress leader DK Suresh from Bangalore Rural, JDS leader and ex-Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy from Mandya, BJP leader Hema Malini from Mathura (UP) and BJP’s leader Arun Govil from Meerut (UP) among others.

In a statement, ECI said that in the second phase, voters from 46 villages in Bastar and Kanker PCs in Chhattisgarh cast their vote in a polling booth set up in their own village for the first time in a Lok Sabha Election. Thus, including phase 1, overall, 102 new polling stations were set for the first time in these PCs for the convenience of villagers.

Though polling time was 7 am to 5 pm, it was extended till 6 pm in many polling stations in Banka, Madhepura, Khagaria and Munger constituencies in Bihar to facilitate voters in hot weather conditions. “The Commission had made special efforts to facilitate voting amongst the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTGs), elderly, young and first-time voters, women, and transgenders,” the statement said.

Further, the commission said that the polling was held smoothly and peacefully in all States/UTs. “The Commission led by CEC Rajiv Kumar along with ECs Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu constantly monitored the polling process since morning. Stringent security measures were implemented to maintain law and order, creating a conducive environment for voters to cast their vote without fear or intimidation,” it said while adding that webcasting was done in over 1 lakh Polling Stations.