New Delhi, Feb 9: The 62-64 per cent turn out of voters in the first phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh today was a record, Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi said.
"This is for the eleventh time in a row that recorded a higher turnout. All the ten previous polls have shown higher voter turnout compared to the previous times," he told PTI.
Quraishi attributed it to the efforts of the EC to educate voters and higher enrolment of fresh voters. "The EC carried out a systematic voter education campaign and did scientific studies to ensure higher turnout which is now showing results," he said.
Quraishi said besides voter education and enrolment, the EC has been asking voters to cast their ballot "ethically and honestly and not by any seducement and bribe". To ensure higher voting, he said, the EC had launched a campaign saying "voting is a precious right and it should be treated as a duty.
" Deputy Election Commissioner Alok Shukla, who is incharge of elections in UP, said, "Polling in the first phase is at least 33 per cent higher than the overall turnout in the previous assembly polls in 2007, which recorded a total of 46.6 per cent turnout."
Of the total 18,108 polling stations in the first phase, 3,429 were declared hyper-sensitive and 2,123 sensitive.
Shukla said enforcement efforts by the EC helped in seizure of Rs 33.23 crore unaccounted cash so far in the state, besides 4,345 illegal weapons and 6,696 cartridges.
Over 2.4 lakh litres of illicit liquor was seized. UP Chief Electorate Officer Umesh Sinha told reporters in Lucknow that "This is probably for the first time after Independence that UP has recorded such a high voter turnout."
He said that while in rural areas average voter turnout was 65 per cent, it was 55 per cent in urban areas.