Lok Sabha Polls: Over 40 percent turnout till 1 pm amid stray violence
New Delhi, May 19 (UNI) An estimated 40.47 per cent of more than 10 crore electorate exercised their franchise till 0100 hrs on Sunday in 59 Parliamentary Constituencies spread across seven states and one union territory in the last leg of the Lok Sabha elections.
Jharkhand (3 seats) recorded highest 51.81 per cent polling, followed by West Bengal (9 seats) 44.16 per cent, Bihar (8 seats) 35.55, Madhya Pradesh (8 seats) 40.88 per cent, Punjab (13 seats) 34.22 per cent, Himachal Pradesh (4 seats) 32.47 per cent, Utttar Pradesh (13 seats) 33.56 percent and Chandigarh 35.60 per cent.
Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from West Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab, where one person was killed.
Reports of EVMs and VVPATs glitches were received from Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh.
In this final phase whose political fortune would be decided are Prime Minister Narendra Modi and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad of the BJP, and Shatrughan Sinha and Manish Tewari of the Congress.
Barring a few incidents, polling in Bengal has been largely peaceful with an estimated 44.16 per cent of 1,49, 63,143 electorate exercising their franchise to decide the fate of 111 candidates in nine constituencies of Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Jadavpur, Kolkata Dakshin and Kolkata Uttar in Bengal.
While Barasat accounted for 36 94 per cent, Dum Dum for 30.10 per cent, Basirhat for 33.90 per cent,
Jopnagar for 20.60 per cent, Mathurapur for 34.90 per cent, Diamond Harbour for 34.40 per cent, Kolkata Dakshin for 31.59 per cent, Kolkata Uttar for 25.41 per cent and Jadavpur for 31.59 per cent.
Nearly 50 EVMs developed technical snag where the electorate at Kulogachi in Sonapur could not vote in the first three hours. Widespread EVM snags have also been reported from some booths of Basirhat, Diamond Harbour, North and South Kolkata LS constituencies.
Voting was delayed too in three booths at Nagerbazar area under Dum Dum Lok Sabha constituency of West Bengal.
More than 34.22 per cent voters have exercised their franchise in all 13 parliamentary constituencies of Punjab and over 35.60 per cent electorate cast their votes in lone Chandigarh Lok Sabha.
Reports reaching here said that one Congress worker was killed in poll-related violence in Khadoor Sahib Lok Sabha constituency. Some incidents of clash between Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal workers were also reported from various parts of the state.
There are reports of malfunctioning of EVMs and VVPATs at several booths in the state.
Patiala recorded highest 28 per cent polling, followed by Bathinda 26.5 per cent, Gurdaspur 26.2 per cent, Sangrur 26.1 per cent, Ferozepur 25.5 per cent, Faridkot 22.9 per cent, Anandpur Sahib 22.3 per cent, Ludhiana 22.1 per cent, Jalandhar 21.9 per cent, Hoshiapur 21.5 per cent, Fatehgarh Sahib 21.2 per cent, Khadoor Sahib 21 per cent and Amritsar 19.5 per cent till 1200 hrs.
Around 33.56 per cent of the total 2.37 crore voters exercised their franchise.
A report from Chandauli Lok Sabha constituency said that a clash broke out between BJP and SP workers near a polling booth in Sikitiya area.
In Chandauli constituency, some leaders of a political party allegedly distributed Rs 500 each to the members of the Dalit community at Tarajivanpur village under Alinagar police station and prevented them from voting and with some anti-social elements putting black ink on their finger tips. The EC has sought a report from the authorities over the incident.
In Sakaldiha Assembly segment of Ghazipur Lok Sabha seat, a fire broke out at booth number 237 but was brought under control by the local villagers within 30 minutes disrupting the polling briefly.
The polling percentage in 13 Lok Sabha constituencies at 1300 hrs were: 38 pc in Maharajganj , 38.16 pc Gorakhpur, 37 pc in Kushinagar, 36.34 pc in Deoria, 36.86 pc in Basgaon, 36.80 pc in Ghosi, 34.84 pc in Salempur, 34.92 pc in Ballia, 37.65 pc in Ghazipur, 34.20 pc in Chandauli, 36.80 pc in Varanasi, 35.96 pc in Mirzapur and 35.96 pc in Robertsganj.
Villagers from Shakateshgarh in Mirzapur have been boycotting the polls because the polling centre is 10 kilometres away from their village. The administration is trying its best to convince them but in vain.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was an early voter in Gorakhpur.
Addressing mediapersons, Mr Adityanath said, 'NDA will come to power with huge majority. The way people are excited about nationalism and development work by the Narendra Modi government, it's just a signal that Modi government will once again come to power.
Expressing displeasure over the long tenure of the seven-phase polls, Mr Kumar said the duration should not have been long as scorching weather will affect the number of electorate exercising their franchise.
In Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi, Congress candidate Ajay Rai and Samajwadi candidate Shalini Yadav also cast their vote.
In Madhya Pradesh, 40.88 per cent of the 1,49,13,890-strong electorate cast their franchise amid tight security in Indore, Dewas, Ujjain, Dhar, Khandwa, Khargone, Mandsaur and tribal-dominated Ratlam parliamentary constituencies of Madhya Pradesh’s Malwa and Nimar regions.
The area-wise break-up is Indore about 22 per cent, Dewas 35, Ujjain 29, Dhar 19, Khandwa 24, Khargone 30, Mandsaur 33 and Ratlam 28.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers and Congress counterparts rained lathis on one another outside Jhabua District’s Umarkot Polling Centre but intervention by law enforcement authorities restored normalcy.
'A total 94 ballot units, 91 control units and 260 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail machines were replaced during mock polls. Officials are pacifying villagers at one place in Agar Malwa District and five in Mandsaur after boycott reports were received. An employee died following cardiac arrest in Dhar this morning and a presiding officer perished last night in Shajapur,' state Chief Electoral Officer VL Kantha Rao told the press.
An estimated 51.81 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the three Lok Sabha seats of the Santhal Pargana division, where polling was currently underway in the last phase of General Election, 2019.
While Rajmahal(ST) recorded a turnout of 32.22 per cent, Dumka (ST) 28.60 per cent and Godda 30.15 per cent.
An estimated 32.47 per cent of the 53,30154 electorate cast their votes in four Parliamentary constituencies of Himachal.
Kangra recorded 40.07 per cent, Mandi 41.50 per cent, Hamirpur 44.66 pc and Shimla 42.75pc.
Una recorded the highest 48.2 per cent polling, followed by Kullu at 48 per cent, Hamirpur District recorded 47.65 per cent, Lahaul Spiti and Mandi registered 47 per cent each, Bilaspur 45.8 per cent, Chamba 45 per cent, Shimla 43.6 per cent, Solan 43 per cent, Kinnuar 42.5 per cent Kangra 40. 9 per cent, Sirmarur 46 per cent respectively.
At least 24.97 per cent voters exercised their franchise in eight constituencies of Bihar even as three people, including a policeman, were injured in stone pelting by miscreants in Sasaram constituency.
Sources at the state election office said that highest 35 percent polling was recorded in Jehanabad constituency followed by 27.40 percent in Patliputra, 25 percent in Karakat, 24.30 percent in Sasaram, 23.43 percent in Nalanda, 23 percent in Buxar and 22.86 percent in Patna Sahib and 21.13 percent in Ara.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, along with his son Nishant, cast his vote at Patna.
Kumar said there was a long gap between two phases in the election and said he would write to leaders of all parties to build a consensus on issues like duration of election process and gap between two phases.
To a query on BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur`s statement on Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi calling him ‘Deshbhakta’, Mr Kumar said, 'We cannot tolerate all this. BJP should definitely consider showing her door. "
'It is, however, an internal matter of BJP. It is work of a party to take action (in such situation),' Kumar added in the same vein.