People in Varanasi today came out in record high numbers to vote in one of the most bitterly fought electoral battle in which BJP leader Narendra Modi is pitted against AAP's Arvind Kejriwal and Congress' Ajay Rai, with the day throwing up fresh controversies.
The temple town witnessed a record 56 per cent with people queuing up for hours outside polling booth in scorching heat. The 2009 Lok Sabha polls had witnessed about 43 per cent polling.
Rai was booked for alleged violation of election laws and breach of poll code of conduct for wearing the party election symbol to polling booth, after Election Commission ordered an enquiry into the matter.
While Modi too stoked a row releasing a video message on polling day urging voters in Varanasi to vote for BJP.
The polling, held amid massive security arrangements, was largely peaceful and no major incident of violence or booth capturing was reported. Police had to resort to mild use of force at some booths after people complained about names being missing from the voters' list.
Both urban and rural areas recorded high voting. Members of the minority community were seen coming out in large numbers to vote.
Election authorities said that the final turnout figure may change a bit, as the voters, who were inside the booths at 6 PM deadline, were allowed to cast their votes.
According to Election authorities, highest turnout of 59 per cent was recorded in Sevapuri assembly constituency while another rural constituency saw 56 per cent polling.
Among urban areas, Varanasi South assembly segment saw 58 per cent polling. In upmarket Cantonment area, the polling was lower at 54 per cent as also in Varanasi North Assembly constituency at 53 per cent till 6 PM.
In the most high-profile fight of the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Varanasi saw long queues in areas including Nadesar, Ram Nagar, Beniabagh and Benaras Hindu University campus since 7 AM when voting began.
AAP complained about alleged attempts of booth capturing in some areas.