Though the election was marred by Maoist violence in Jharkhand where four CRPF jawans were injured and railway tracks blown up, turnout levels were dramatically higher in key states.
At around 55%, there was a 20 percentage points (ppt) hike in the turnout in Bihar over 2009 and an 8-10 ppt hike in Uttar Pradesh, another key battleground for the BJP. In Karnataka, another key state, voter turnout rose from 58.5% to 68%. Madhya Pradesh, however, didnt see much of a jump in turnout as compared to 2009.
Among notable candidates who cast their votes on Thursday were Nandan Nilekani (Congress), Maneka Gandhi (BJP), former prime minister HD Deve Gowda (JD-S), union ministers Veerappa Moily (Congress) and Srikant Jena, Supriya Sule (NCP) and Lalu Prasad's eldest daughter Misa Bharti.
A total of 1,769 candidates are competing to represent 121 constituencies in this phase.