About 17 per cent polling was recorded till 11 AM in ten parliamentary constituencies across Naxal-hit Vidarbha region, where voting is underway in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra.
According to election authorities, polling picked up slowly after the initial hours and there was moderate voter turnout till 9 AM.
While Buldhana recorded 17 percent voting, 18 per cent voters cast their ballot in Akola, over 15 per cent voters in Amravati, 13 per cent in Wardha, more than percent in Ramtek, 17.8 per cent in Nagpur, 22 per cent in Bhandara-Gondia, over 21 percent in Gadchiroli-Chimur, 16 percent in Chandrapur and 16.6 per cent electorate voted in Yavatmal-Washim seat till 11 AM.
About 1.63 crore people are eligible to vote while 201 candidates are in the fray in this backward region, which has been traditionally a Congress stronghold.
The constituencies where polling is underway since 7 AM are: Nagpur, Ramtek, Bhandara-Gondia, Gadchiroli, Chandrapur, Akola, Amravati, Buldana, Wardha and Yavatmal-Washim.
Political stalwarts whose fate will be decided today include Union Heavy Industries Minister and NCP leader Praful Patel (Bhandara), former BJP national president Nitin Gadkari (Nagpur), seven-time Congress MP and former Minister Vilas Muttemwar (Nagpur), AICC General Secretary and former minister Mukul Wasnik and two Congress Ministers Shivajirao Moghe (Yavatmal) and Sanjay Deotale (Chandrapur). AAP veteran leader Wamanrao Chatap (Chandrapur) and Anjali Damania are also among the prominent faces in the poll run this time.
Vidarbha-- the cotton belt of Maharashtra which has been infamous for large number of farmer suicides for over a decade besides the rising Maoist menace-- accounts for 10 of the total 48 Parliamentary constituencies in the state.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made across all constituencies in over 20,000 polling booths in the region, particularly in Naxal-hit Gadchiroli district.
Also, a strategic system has been designed to avert and foil any possible disturbance during polling by Naxals in Gondia, Bhandara, and Chandrapur districts, which have the most sensitive booths in the region, police said.