New Delhi, Apr 23: Nearly 66 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the third phase of the Lok Sabha polls on Tuesday, the Election Commission said.

In the third phase, voting was held in 116 Lok Sabha seats, including all constituencies in Gujarat and Kerala, with BJP president Amit Shah, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and several Union ministers among prominent candidates in the fray.

Voter turnout in the third phase of the Lok Sabha elections is 65.61 per cent till 8.00 pm, a mobile application launched by the EC said.

This was by far the biggest phase in terms of constituencies.

In the first two phases, election was held to 91 and 95 seats on April 11 and April 18 respectively. Election to 543 seats is being held in seven phases. The counting of votes will be on May 23.

The third phase of polls was marred with violence in West Bengal where a person was hacked to death in Murshidabad.

In Kerala, 11 deaths, all due to 'natural' reasons, were reported, Deputy Election Commissioner Sudip Jain told reporters here.

He said, out of the total 2.81 lakh ballot units deployed, 1593 were replaced. Similarly, out of 2.11 lakh control units, 1225 were replaced.

Of total 2.11 lakh paper trail machines, 4725 were replaced, Jain said.

He said this was by far the biggest deployment of paper trail machines since the concept was introduced after a Supreme Court directive in 2013.

"When a control unit or a ballot unit is replaced, the paper trail machines have to be replaced along with it. Thus the higher number of replacements," Jain said.

At least one control unit and one ballot unit make up for an electronic voting machine.

 

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Thiruvananthapuram: Authorities in coastal areas of Kerala have been put on high alert after an intelligence report said 15 Islamic State terrorists had set off from Sri Lanka for the Lakshadweep islands on boats, police sources said.

Coastal police stations and police chiefs have been alerted about suspicious vessels. The sources said, though, such alerts are "usual practice", this time they have a specific information about the number of terrorists.

The coastal police department said it has been on alert since May 23 after the intelligence input came from Sri Lanka.

"We have been on alert since the Sri Lankan attack. We have alerted fishing vessel owners and others venturing into the sea to be cautious," a coastal police department official told PTI.

After the serial bomb blasts in Sri Lanka, Kerala was put on alert, especially after NIA investigations revealed that IS operatives had planned attacks in the state.