LS polls 4th phase: Over 64 per cent turnout; violence in Andhra, Bengal

Voter turnout of over 64 per cent was recorded in the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections covering 96 constituencies spread over 10 states and Union Territories, with scattered incidents of violence reported in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.
YSRCP leader A Sivakumar and a voter clash during voting for the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections and Andhra Pradesh State Assembly elections, at a polling booth, in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, Monday, May 13, 2024.
YSRCP leader A Sivakumar and a voter clash during voting for the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections and Andhra Pradesh State Assembly elections, at a polling booth, in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, Monday, May 13, 2024.

New Delhi | A voter turnout of over 64 per cent was recorded on Monday in the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha elections covering 96 constituencies spread over 10 states and Union Territories, with scattered incidents of violence reported in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.

West Bengal, where polling was held in eight constituencies, again recorded an impressive turnout at 76.56 per cent, the highest among states/UTs in this phase.

Srinagar constituency in Jammu and Kashmir witnessed 37.93 per cent voting in the first Lok Sabha election in the Valley since the scrapping of Article 370, with the EC stating that it was the "highest turnout in decades".

According to the EC's voter turnout app at 10 pm, the overall voting in this phase was 64.05 per cent.

However, it said that this was an "approximate" trend as data from polling stations was still being collated.

A large number of voters were in the queue at polling stations even after the fixed time of polling ended at 6 pm, the Election Commission said in a statement at 8 pm.

Among other states, Andhra Pradesh (25 seats) recorded 68.20 per cent polling, Bihar (five seats) 56.75 per cent, Jharkhand (four seats) 64.59 per cent, Maharashtra (11 seats) 57.58 per cent, Odisha (four seats) 64.81 per cent, Telangana (17 seats) 62.28 per cent and Uttar Pradesh (13) 58.05 per cent.

A provisional voter turnout of 71.72 per cent was recorded in Madhya Pradesh (eight seats).

The overall voter turnout in the first three phases of the Lok Sabha elections was 66.14 per cent, 66.71 per cent and 65.68 per cent, respectively.

With the conclusion of Phase 4, polling for general elections has crossed the halfway mark as it has been completed in 23 states/UTs and 379 Lok Sabha constituencies out of 543.

Also, assembly elections were held in Andhra Pradesh on Monday, apart from polling in 28 assembly seats in Odisha.

BJP candidate in Telangana's Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat K Madhavi Latha, who is contesting against AIMIM's Asaduddin Owaisi, was booked by election authorities after a video clip surfaced online in which she was purportedly seen asking burqa-clad women voters to show their faces to compare with the photo identity cards.

In Andhra Pradesh, the TDP and YSRCP accused each other of indulging in violence, especially in Palnadu, Kadapa and Annamayya districts.

YSRCP also wrote to the EC, alleging poll code violations by rival TDP in several assembly segments, including Vemuru, Darsi, Icchapuram, Kuppam, Macherla, Markapuram, Palakonda and Pedakurapaudu.

Polling for 175 Assembly seats and 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in the coastal state occurred simultaneously on Monday.

The YSRCP alleged that TDP leaders captured five polling booths in the Vemuru constituency.

YSRCP leader and Tenali MLA A Shiva Kumar allegedly manhandled a voter in Tenali following an argument, police said, adding the voter also retaliated.

At Dalavaipalli village in Railway Kodur constituency, an EVM was destroyed while cars belonging to the ruling party and TDP were damaged, a police official said.

A TDP agent was attacked at Nakkaladinne village in Myduruku constituency, leading to his hospitalisation.

The YSRCP alleged that party agent Suresh Reddy was stabbed at Mandi Krishnapuram village in Chittoor's Gudipala mandal. It also alleged that TDP supporters attacked party member B Anji Reddy at Aravallipadu in the Darsi constituency.

TDP MLC Mohammed Ahmed Shariff wrote to Chief Electoral Officer Mukesh Kumar Meena, complaining about alleged attacks by YSRCP cadres on TDP supporters at Rentala village in Rentichintala mandal of Palnadu district.

TDP activists allegedly damaged the vehicle of senior YSRCP leader Nandigam Suresh, the YSRCP said in a statement. It further alleged that TDP supporters attacked party member B Anji Reddy at Aravallipadu in the Darsi constituency, resulting in a head injury.

Meanwhile, TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu alleged that there was "no peaceful atmosphere in the state for people to exercise their franchise".

"I severely condemn the violence reported since morning. YSRCP is implementing its plots in a concerted manner. Local police officials failed in averting violence in Macherla constituency," he said in a post on 'X'.

Sporadic incidents of violence marred the fourth phase of Lok Sabha polls in the eight parliamentary constituencies of West Bengal as TMC and BJP workers clashed in various areas under Birbhum and Bardhaman-Durgapur Lok Sabha seats.

Around 1,700 complaints of EVM malfunction and obstruction of agents entering booths were recorded till 1 pm, the EC said, adding the TMC, Congress, and BJP filed hundreds of complaints related to poll violence, voter intimidation, and assaults on agents.

Two security personnel of the CISF deployed to protect West Bengal BJP leader Dilip Ghosh were injured in a stone-pelting incident at Bardhaman.

"An incident of stone-pelting on CISF SSG protectee and attack on his vehicle by some miscreants occurred at Bardhaman (WB) in which two CISF personnel sustained head injuries. The protectee was safely evacuated without the use of force," the central paramilitary force said in a post on 'X'.

Ghosh (59) is a 'Y' category protectee of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) VIP security wing called the Special Security Group (SSG).

"Police are just mute spectators. The TMC has let loose a reign of terror. Since morning, TMC goons have beaten up our polling agents and are not allowing the elections to be free and fair," Ghosh told reporters.

In Nanoor under Birbhum Lok Sabha seat, BJP workers clashed with TMC activists after saffron party polling agents were allegedly stopped from entering booths.

Tension also prevailed in the Chapra area of Krishnanagar constituency as BJP workers were allegedly beaten by TMC activists. BJP candidate Amrita Roy accompanied two injured persons to Chapra police station. The TMC has denied the allegations.

In Uttar Pradesh, there were instances of poll boycotts with people in some villages of Shahjahanpur keeping away from the process to protest against the lack of roads and development.

Akbarpur parliamentary constituency recorded 57.58 per cent polling, Bahraich 57.47 per cent, Dhaurahra 64.12 per cent, Etawah 56.19 per cent, Farrukhabad 58.90 per cent, Hardoi 57.45 per cent, Kannauj 60.89 per cent, Kanpur 52.90 per cent, Kheri 64.64 per cent, Misrikh 55.78 per cent, Shahjahanpur 53.14 per cent, Sitapur 62.22 per cent and Unnao 55.33 per cent, according to EC data.

The keenly watched seats in this phase in the state include Kannauj, from where the Samajwadi Party (SP) has fielded its president Akhilesh Yadav, and Kheri, from where Union minister Ajay Mishra Teni, whose son is an accused in the 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, is eyeing a hat-trick.

EVM glitches were also reported in several places in Odisha. An official said 65 Ballot Units, 83 Control Units and 110 VVPATs have been replaced so far and most of the replacements were done during the mock poll exercise before starting of real voting at 7 am.

The Election Commission suspended two polling officials in Odisha for dereliction of duty, the chief electoral officer said.

In Jharkhand, security forces thwarted an attempt by Maoists to obstruct voter access to polling booths by felling a tree and blocking a road leading to remote Sonapi and Morangponga areas of West Singhbhum district.

Voting was peaceful in Srinagar where three generations of the Abdullah family cast their vote in the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency.

"Today, people came out in large numbers to cast their votes in Srinagar Parliamentary Constituency and reaffirmed their faith in democracy and the Constitution. I commend the hard work by all the stakeholders for free, fair, peaceful and smooth conduct of the polling," Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor (LG) Manoj Sinha said.

"I truly appreciate the enthusiasm of electors and hopeful (hope) to see historic turnout in the next two phases (in Baramulla and Anantnag parliamentary constituencies on May 20 and 25, respectively). I appeal to all to vote without fear and vote with responsibility and pride," he said.

Polling for the next three phases in the country will be held on May 20, May 25 and June 1. The counting of votes is on June 4.

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