A relatively low voter turnout of approximately 57.47 per cent was reported until 8 pm on Monday for the fifth phase of polling on 49 Lok Sabha seats, a dip of over 11 percentage points compared to the previous phase, which saw 69.16 per cent people turn up to exercise their franchise on 96 constituencies. 

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It was also low compared to the 62 per cent voter turnout in the fifth phase of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The silver lining was a high voter turnout of 54.49 per cent in Baramulla parliamentary constituency in Jammu and Kashmir which is the highest in the last 35 years, said the Election Commission of India (ECI) in a press release issued at 8 pm. Soibug village of Baramulla, the native place of Syed Salahuddin, the Pakistan-based supreme commander of banned terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen, too came out to vote enthusiastically, said J&K officials involved in the electoral exercise. 

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The gross voter turnout in 2019 for Baramulla was 34.6 per cent, which was less than 39.14 per cent recorded in 2014, the ECI shared. For militancy-affected Baramulla, the highest voter turnout was in 1996, when 46.65 per cent polling occurred, followed by 41.94 per cent in 1998 and 41.84 in 2009. Still, the lowest voter turnout was 5.48 per cent in the 1989 parliamentary elections, as per the ECI. Twenty-two candidates were in the fray in Baramulla LS seat.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) statistics showed that West Bengal continued to record high voter turnout as in earlier phases, with this time its approximately 73 per cent on seven seats, followed by 67.15 per cent on the lone seat of Ladakh, 63 per cent on Jharkhand’s 3 seats, 60.72 per cent on Odisha’s five constituencies, and 57.79 per cent on Uttar Pradesh’s 14 seats. 

Maharashtra recorded the lowest voter turnout, at 49.01 per cent on 13 seats, while it was 52.60 per cent in Bihar’s five seats.    

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Compared to the fifth phase polling in 2019, all 49 seats saw a comparative decline in voter turnout percentage points except the J&K. The highest slip of 12.18 percentage points was in Odisha. West Bengal trailed with a 7 percentage point dip, followed by 6.82 in Maharashtra, 4.6 in Bihar, 3.5 in Ladakh, 2.6 in Jharkhand, and the lowest was .81 in UP. 

As far as the polling across important cities are concerned, voter turnout of 74.17 was the highest in Hooghly, West Bengal and the lowest of 44.63 per cent in Mumbai South. “PCs in various urban cities like Mumbai, Thane, Nashik & Lucknow continued the trend of urban apathy as notices in the last GE 2019,” the Commission observed.

Polling in the fifth phase of elections began at 7 am and ended at 6 pm, with voters coming out in large numbers braving hot weather in many parts of states that went to polls, the Commission stated. A total of 695 candidates were in the electoral fray.