Sports Contest

66% cast vote as EVM glitches, violence and Bengal murder mar third phase of Lok Sabha polls

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 24 April 2019, 12:23 AM
A security personnel stands guard as voters queue outside a polling station in Badaun.
A security personnel stands guard as voters queue outside a polling station in Badaun.

A high voter turnout of over 66 per cent, including over 80 per cent in Assam, was recorded in the third and largest phase of Lok Sabha elections covering 116 constituencies across 13 states and two Union Territories on Tuesday.

The turnout was low as compared to 69.03 per cent in 2014 with some states as Odisha and Goa recording lower turnouts and a few others like Bihar witnessing a higher participation.

The third phase of polling was marred with complaints of EVM malfunctioning in several states, sporadic incidents of violence in some states and killing of a man outside a booth in West Bengal. Meanwhile, a polling official on duty at a booth under Parjang Assembly segment of Dhenkanal Lok Sabha constituency in Odisha, collapsed and later died, the official said.

As per data available on Election Commission of India’s Voter Turnout app at 11.43 pm, the overall voter turnout stood at 66.42 per cent. Final figures are likely to change as queues of voters were seen at several centres even after the scheduled time for voting ended.

Besides all seats in Gujarat (26) and Kerala (20), voting was held in four seats in Assam, five in Bihar, seven in Chhattisgarh, 14 each in Karnataka and Maharashtra, six in Odisha, 10 in Uttar Pradesh, five in West Bengal, two in Goa, and one each in Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Tripura.

With Tuesday's polling, voting has been held in 302 Lok Sabha constituencies apart from Anantnag.

Here is a look into how the states voted in the third phase:

West Bengal

A voter turnout of 80.47 per cent was recorded in West Bengal amid sporadic incidents of violence reported in North Bijnapur, Murshidabad and Balurghat.

A group of men attacked 52-year-old Tiyarul Sheikh with sharp weapons following an altercation when he went to vote at a booth in Baligram Primary School under Bhagwangola police station limits in Murshidabad Lok Sabha constituency, police sources said.

Congress candidate of Murshidabad Lok Sabha seat Abu Hena claimed Tiyarul was a party worker and was killed by TMC cadres. The Election Commission sought a report from the Murshidabad district magistrate.

Also, there were reports a polling agent, identified as Babulal Murmum, found dead at his house in Murshidabad. The cause of death is yet to be ascertained.

Bombs were reportedly hurled outside a booth in Balurghat seat of West Bengal, leading to commotion, he said, adding, central forces also allegedly baton charged a mob in Suti area of Jangipur.

Kerala

A total of 76.82 per cent of 2.61 crore voters Tuesday exercised their franchise to elect 20 Lok Sabha members from Kerala, where the ruling LDF and the opposition UDF fought tooth and nail to garner maximum seats. Official sources said the election was by and large peaceful.  

The high range constituency Wayanad, which came into national prominence after Congress chief's Rahul Gandhi's candidature, registered a record polling of 79.77 per cent against the 73.25 per cent registered in the 2014 elections.

The BJP-NDA lodged a complaint against Gandhi alleging he openly canvassed for votes through twitter even while polling was on in the hill constituency.

They alleged that he canvassed for votes even after the time limit to openly campaign in the constituency ended at 5 pm on April 21.

In the 2014 polls, 74.02 per cent votes were polled in the southern state, in which the UDF had won 12 seats, LDF 8 while BJP failed to open its account.

Assam

Assam recorded a voter turnout of 80.75 per cent – by far the highest among the 13 states and two UTs which went to polls in the third phase on Tuesday. The four Lok Sabha seats – Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Barpeta and Gauhati witnessed 86.94 per cent, 77.38 per cent, 78.11 per cent and 80.22 per cent voter turnout respectively.

In Assam, noteworthy among those in the fray are sitting MPs AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal in Dhubri and Independent Naba Sarania in Kokrajhar; BPF candidate and state social welfare minister Pramila Rani from Kokrajhar and Congress MLA Abdul Khaleque from Barpeta.

Gujarat

Gujarat recorded a high voter turnout of 63.67 per cent across the 26 Lok Sabha seats in a single phase polling amid reports of glitches in EVMs and stray incidents of intimidation and violence.

Key political leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, party veteran L K Advani, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Congress leader Ahmed Patel and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani exercised their franchise at different places in the state.

Uttar Pradesh

Braving the scorching sun and EVM niggles, voters in Uttar Pradesh recorded a turnout of 60.52 per cent in the 10 constituencies where polling took place Tuesday in the third phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

This is about a percentage point short of the overall 61.48 registered over the same constituencies in 2014.

Prominent UP leaders in the fray in this phase are four members of Samajwadi Party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav's clan, besides senior party leader Azam Khan and actor-turned BJP candidate Jaya Prada.

There were complaints of EVM malfunctioning at some booths and were attended to, Chief Electoral Officer L Venkateshwar Lu said in Lucknow.

The Samajwadi Party lodged a complaint over the alleged malfunctioning of EVMs with the Election Commission, terming it criminal negligence.

At a booth in Etah, the presiding officer was removed after people accused him of forcing them to cast their votes in favour of the SP.

SP leader Ahmed Nafis was taken into custody for some hours in Kasganj in Etah after authorities anticipated breach of peace.

SP MP Dharmendra Yadav, who is seeking re-election from Badaun, lodged a complaint against state minister Swami Prasad Maurya, claiming he was campaigning in the constituency for his daughter and BJP candidate Sanghmitra Maurya.

Bihar

An estimated 60 per cent of 89.09 lakh voters exercised their franchise in five Lok Sabha seats in the third phase of polling in Bihar.

Araria recorded polling at 62.38 per cent, Supaul at 62.78 per cent, Madhepura at 59.14 per cent, Jhanjharpur at 56.87 per cent and Khagaria at 58.90 per cent, according to data available at Voter Turnout app.

The electoral fate of 82 candidates, including Sharad Yadav, Bihar minister Dinesh Chandra Yadav, former Bollywood set designer and VIP chief Mukesh Sahni apart from sitting MPs Ranjeet Ranjan, her husband Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, Sarafaraz Alam will be decided in the third phase.

Anantnag

The voter turnout in south Kashmir's Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, where elections are being held in three phases, Tuesday recorded a massive dip as compared to the 2014 general election.

The six assembly segments which went to poll in phase one on Tuesday recorded a turnout of 12.86 per cent. It was 39.37 per cent in 2014 in the corresponding segments

While polling concluded in Anantnag district, voting in Kulgam district will be held on April 29. Pulwama and Shopian districts will go to polls on May 6.

Tripura

Opposition parties in Tripura complained of intimidation of voters by the ruling BJP workers during the Lok Sabha elections Tuesday, and the CPI(M) sitting MP and candidate said he failed to cast his vote as he was in another district to instil courage among the people there.

The BJP, however, denied the charge and said people voted in a festive mood.

An estimated 80.4 percent of 12,61,861 electorate cast their votes till 5 pm in the Tripura East (ST) constituency.

The EC had deferred elections in the seat from April 18 to April 23, saying the prevailing law-and-order situation there is not conducive for holding free and fair poll.

First Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2019 12:23 AM
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