LS polls: Over 59 per cent polling in fifth phase

West Bengal recorded the highest polling percentage at 73.14, while Maharashtra recorded the lowest at 53.51 per cent.
Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar during voting for the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Mumbai, Monday, May 20, 2024.
Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar during voting for the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Mumbai, Monday, May 20, 2024.

New Delhi | Over 59 per cent voter turnout was recorded on Monday in 49 constituencies in six states and two Union territories in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections, with Baramulla in Jammu and Kashmir recording its highest-ever voting percentage.

There were sporadic incidents of violence in West Bengal, besides EVM glitches at some booths in the state and neighbouring Odisha and complaints of slow voting in Maharashtra.

West Bengal recorded the highest polling percentage at 73.14, while Maharashtra recorded the lowest at 53.51 per cent, with six Lok Sabha constituencies of Mumbai witnessing voting between 46 per cent to around 54 per cent per cent. Thane recorded a turnout of 49.81 per cent, according to the EC's voter turnout app.

The EC had on Sunday flagged urban voter apathy in Mumbai, Thane and Lucknow and had urged people to come out and vote.

Jammu and Kashmir's Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency, which was once militancy-infested, recorded its highest-ever voter turnout on Monday at 59 per cent, J-K Chief Electoral Officer P K Pole said.

The Sopore assembly segment of the parliamentary constituency witnessed a healthy turnout of 44 per cent after recording single-digit polling percentages in the past couple of decades.

"The Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency witnessed a record voter turnout since parliamentary polls were first held here in 1967," Pole told reporters at the end of polling. The previous highest voter turnout in the Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency was witnessed in 1984 at 58.90 per cent.

Former J-K chief minister Omar Abdullah is among 22 candidates contesting on the seat.

Among other states, Bihar recorded 53.78 per cent turnout, Jharkhand 63.06 per cent, Odisha 62.23 per cent, Uttar Pradesh 57.79 per cent and Ladakh 68.47 per cent. The figures, the EC said, were "approximate trend" as data was still being collated.

According to the figures made available by the Election Commission around 10 pm, the approximate polling percentage was 59.06.

The last four phases have registered a total voter turnout of 66.95 per cent. With the end of polls in the fifth phase, voting has been completed in 25 states and Union Territories and 428 constituencies out of 543 in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. Two more phases -- on May 25 and June 1 -- are remaining now. Counting of votes is on June 4.

Scattered incidents of violence marred the polls in seven parliamentary constituencies of West Bengal where TMC and BJP workers clashed in various parts of Barrackpore, Bongaon, and Arambagh seats.

Till 4.30 pm, the state CEO's office received 1,913 complaints in connection including those related to EVM malfunctioning and polling agents being stopped from entering booths, an election official said.

Clashes broke out between supporters of the TMC and BJP in the Khanakul area of the Arambagh constituency.

In neighbouring Hooghly constituency, BJP sitting MP and party candidate Locket Chatterjee faced protests from TMC activists led by TMC MLA Ashima Patra. A huge police and central forces contingent was rushed to the spot.

Violence was also reported from various parts of the Howrah constituency.

In the Liluah area of Howrah, the BJP accused TMC workers of "booth jamming" leading to clashes between groups. The central police forces rushed to the area and dispersed them.

In Bongaon constituency’s Gayeshpur area, local BJP leader Subir Biswas was allegedly beaten by TMC supporters outside a booth. He was later shifted to the hospital.

In the Kalyani area of the same constituency, Union Minister and BJP candidate Shantanu Thakur caught a person using the identity card of his rival TMC candidate Biswajit Das inside a polling booth.

The person was later removed from the booth by central forces.

TMC workers also held protests in some areas following allegations that central forces were assisting BJP workers in "intimidating" voters at some booths of Hooghly.

In Uttar Pradesh, Amethi recorded a voter turnout of 54.17 per cent, Lucknow 52.03 per cent Rae Bareli 57.85 per cent, Banda 59.49 per cent, Barabanki 66.89 per cent, Faizabad 58.96 per cent, and Fatehpur 56.90 per cent.

Gonda recorded 51.45 per cent voting, Hamirpur 60.36 per cent, Jalaun 53.44 per cent, Jhansi 63.57 per cent, Kaisarganj 55.47 per cent, Kaushambi 52.60 per cent, and Mohanlalganj 62.53 per cent, according to the Election Commission.

The polling percentage in the Lucknow East assembly constituency was around 52.25 per cent.

"There was no violence anywhere in the state. About 250 complaints regarding slow voting and EVMs were received by the EC," according to Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer Navdeep Rinwa.

In three booths in the Jhansi constituency in Lalitpur district, 100 per cent of polling was reported.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is in the fray from Rae Bareli which was represented by his mother and former party president Sonia Gandhi earlier, visited different polling booths in the constituency and posed for pictures with local residents. He also interacted with Congress booth workers in Bachhrawan and visited a Hanuman temple in Churuva.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh (Lucknow), Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani (Amethi), Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Kaushal Kishor (Mohanlalganj), Minister of State for Consumer Affairs Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti (Fatehpur) and Union Minister of State for MSME Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma (Jalaun) are among those in the fray in seats in Uttar Pradesh.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati was among the early voters in Lucknow.

"I have voted and I appeal to all voters to exercise their franchise," she said.

Defence Minister Singh, who is eyeing a fourth term from Lucknow, cast his vote at a polling booth in Vipul Khand here and also appealed to the people to vote.

Irani, who is seeking a re-election from Amethi, cast her vote in the constituency.

The Congress alleged EVM malfunctioning ats several places and accused the BJP of not allowing people to cast votes in three booths in Bela Khara village in Rahi block.

According to reports from Kaushambi, voters of Hisampur Madho village boycotted the polls.

The villagers told the officials that they would consider voting only after an assurance from the administration that a road and railway bridge connecting the village to other areas would be built.

In Maharashtra, Mumbai residents faced delays, slow-paced voting process and long queues amid sultry weather conditions, with Shiv Sena (UBT) and Congress raising concern.

Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray addressed a press conference where he accused the EC of delaying the poll process deliberately at the behest of the Modi government.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, however, said he first complained to the EC about the slow pace of voting in the city and claimed Thackeray was blaming the Modi government only because the opposition was staring at a defeat.

Thackeray was preparing the ground to face the results on June 4, Fadnavis added

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray also claimed there were a lot of complaints from electors about facilities outside polling booths.

BJP leader Kirit Somaiya alleged that Shiv Sena (UBT) leaders Sanjay Raut

Industrialist Mukesh Ambani with wife Nita after casting votes at a polling booth, during the 5th phase of Lok Sabha polls, in Mumbai, Monday, May 20, 2024.
Industrialist Mukesh Ambani with wife Nita after casting votes at a polling booth, during the 5th phase of Lok Sabha polls, in Mumbai, Monday, May 20, 2024.

and Sunil Raut were found involved in "corrupt practices" outside their polling booth at Bhandup in Mumbai.

The former MP also claimed that two activists of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) were arrested for "illegal and corrupt practices of using a fake EVM".

However, MLA Sunil Raut, who is the brother of Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut, dismissed the allegations saying a dummy electronic voting machine (EVM) was kept outside the 100-metre radius of the polling booth for educational purposes.

Still, the police removed it under "political pressure", he claimed.

Politicians, sportspersons and prominent persons from the financial sector exercised their franchise at polling booths in different parts of Mumbai and neighbouring Thane.

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde along with his family members, including his son and sitting Kalyan MP Shrikant Shinde, voted at a booth in his political turf, Thane.

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray and Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray and their families also cast their votes.

A 56-year-old election officer died after suffering a heart attack at a polling booth in the Mumbai South Lok Sabha constituency

In Odisha, some unidentified persons allegedly hacked an auto-rickshaw driver to death near Sarsara in Bargarh district. The deceased was carrying some voters to the polling booth. While the family members claimed it was a political murder, police say personal enmity is the reason behind the crime.

EVM glitches were also reported at some places in Odisha.

Jharkhand saw a voter turnout of 63 per cent in the Lok Sabha election.

In the Gandey assembly by-poll where jailed former chief minister Hemant Soren's wife Kalpana Soren is the JMM candidate, 68.26 per cent of the voters exercised their franchise.

Chief Electoral Officer K Ravi Kumar said seven FIRs were registered for violation of the model code of conduct (MCC) - two each in Palamu, Latehar and Hazaribagh and one in Giridih.

"Polling was boycotted across two booths in Hazaribagh and one in Panki," he said.

Electors from five Maoist-hit villages in Jharkhand's Chatra district on Monday cast their votes in large numbers for the first time in their booths since the state's creation in 2000.

Earlier, polling booths for voters of Garia, Amkudar, Pathel, Baniabandh and Sikid villages in Kanhachatti block were relocated due to security threats from Maoists and people had to walk for 10-11 km on difficult terrain to exercise their franchise

Over 8.95 crore people, including 4.26 crore females and 5,409 third-gender electors, were eligible to vote in this round and 9.47 lakh polling officials had been deployed across 94,732 polling stations.

According to the Election Commission, the voter turnout in the fourth phase stood at 69.16 per cent, 3.65 percentage points higher than the corresponding phase in the 2019 parliamentary elections.

The turnout percentages was 66.14, 66.71, 65.68 and 69.16 per cent in the first four phases.

In the second phase of the 2024 elections, the turnout was recorded at 66.71 per cent as against the 69.64 per cent in the second phase of the 2019 polls.

In the first phase of the ongoing general elections, a 66.14 per cent turnout was recorded. In the 2019 polls, the turnout in the first phase was 69.43 per cent.

The poll panel said the final turnout will only be available after the results, with the counting of postal ballots and its addition to the total voting percentage.

Polling for 23 states and Union territories and 379 seats has been completed so far.

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