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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ABU DHABI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on Saturday honoured with the "Order of Zayed", the UAE's highest civilian award, for his efforts to boost bilateral ties between the two nations.

Several world leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Queen Elizabeth II and Chinese President Xi Jinping have been honoured with the award in the past.

"The award in the name of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, acquires special significance as it was awarded to Prime Minister Modi in the year of the birth centenary of Sheikh Zayed," Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement ahead of his visit.

India and the UAE enjoy warm, close and multi-faceted relations underpinned by cultural, religious and economic linkages which, during the prime minister's previous visit to the UAE in August 2015, stood elevated to a comprehensive strategic partnership, it said.

The award to PM Modi was announced in April this year.