Elections

Lok Sabha polls: Over 61% polling in last phase

PTI | Updated on May 19, 2019 Published on May 19, 2019

Women wait in a queue to cast their votes at a polling station, during the seventh phase of Lok Sabha elections, at Mirzapur, in U.P, on Sunday, May 19, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Voters wait for their turn to cast their vote at Danapur under Patliputra parliamentary constituency in Bihar during final phase of Lok Sabha general elections, on Sunday 19 May, 2019   -  The Hindu

Incidents of violence in West Bengal and clashes in Punjab reported

Incidents of violence in West Bengal and clashes in Punjab were reported during the seventh and last phase of Lok Sabha polls on Sunday, with over 61 per cent turnout being recorded in 59 seats.

Over 8,000 candidates were in fray for 542 Lok Sabha seats across the country in the Lok Sabha elections. The last phase, which decided the fate of 918 candidates including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also saw EVM glitches and poll boycott at some booths.

Also read: Exit polls prediction

Voting took place in 13 seats of Punjab and an equal number of seats in Uttar Pradesh, nine in West Bengal, eight seats each in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, four in Himachal Pradesh, three in Jharkhand and the lone seat Chandigarh.

In Uttar Pradesh, 55.52 per cent voting was recorded in 13 Lok Sabha seats, officials said. The turnout in Varanasi was 53.58 per cent, while in Gorakhpur, it was 56.47 per cent, the Election Commission said.

Violence erupted in Chandauli Lok Sabha constituency, where state Bharatiya Janata Party chief Mahendra Nath Pandey is seeking re-election, when supporters of the saffron party and the Samajwadi Party clashed. The situation was later brought under control.

A report from Chandauli said the fingers of Dalits had been inked before they could actually cast their vote in Tara Jivanpur village under Alinagar police station. Officials said an FIR was registered in the matter.

Incidents of violence were reported in West Bengal where 73.40 per cent of over 1.49 crore electorate exercised their franchise in nine Lok Sabha seats. According to BJP’s North Kolkata candidate Rahul Sinha, a crude bomb was hurled near Girish Park in the constituency around noon. Police, however, said crackers were burst in the area, and polling was underway peacefully.

In Kolkata south, TMC candidate Mala Roy alleged that she was stopped from entering polling booths. Sporadic clashes were reported in Kolkata and its surrounding areas, with TMC workers claiming that voters were being intimidated by central forces outside booths.

BJP candidate Nilanjan Roy in Diamond Harbour constituency alleged that his car was vandalized in Budge Budge area. Similar reports also came in from Jadavpur constituency, where BJP candidate Anupam Hazra’s car came under the attack of unidentified men.

“Polling has by and large been peaceful in the nine seats. There have been no complaints of any violence from any of the polling booths,” an election official told PTI. “There were also reports of EVM glitches in several polling stations. We have sent reserve EVMs to booths, where the voting process was temporarily hampered due to technical glitches,” he added.

Punjab saw a polling percentage of 59 per cent in 13 Lok Sabha seats. In lone Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat, 63.57 per cent turnout was registered. Maximum polling percentage was witnessed at 64.18 in Patiala and the lowest was in Amritsar at 52.47.

In the morning, there were some reports of technical glitches in EVMs at several places including Ludhiana, Samana and Moga. Punjab’s Chief Electoral Officer S Karuna Raju said eight ballot units, 13 control units, and eight voter-verified paper audit trail have been replaced. There were also reports of clashes between Congress and Akali-BJP workers in Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda and Gurdaspur. At Talwandi Sabo, Akalis alleged that shots were also fired by ruling party workers.

In Himachal Pradesh, 66.70 per cent turnout was recorded till 5 pm in four Lok Sabha seats where five MLAs, including a state minister, are among the 45 candidates in the fray. EVM snags delayed voting at nine polling stations. Voting restarted after the nine faulty EVMs were replaced, a state election officer said. A turnout of 132 per cent has been recorded in the world’s highest polling station in Lahaul and Spiti district’s Tashigang village, a district official said.

In Madhya Pradesh, 69.36 per cent voter turnout was recorded in eight Lok Sabha seats. However, voters listed at a booth in Agar Malwa district falling under the Dewas seat and five booths in Mandsaur seat boycotted the polling over their demands. Efforts were on to persuade voters to exercise their democratic right, an official said. The official said around 12 people cast their votes at the polling booth in Dewas after being persuaded by election officials there.

Bihar witnessed 53.36 per cent voting in eight Lok Sabha seats. An election official said, “Going by reports that reached us from district headquarters, we have found out that the voting process was temporarily hampered at few polling stations in Ara, Sasaram, Jehanabad, Pataliputr and Buxar. Officials have attended to the complaints and redressed all grievances,” he said.

In neighbouring Jharkhand, an estimated 70.97 per cent of the total 45,64,681 voters exercised their franchise in three Lok Sabha seats.

In the last phase of Lok Sabha polls, over 10.01 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise. The Election Commission has set up more than 1.12 lakh polling stations and has deployed security personnel for smooth conduct of polls.

An average of 66.88 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the last six phases and the whole elections were spread over 38 days. Counting of votes will be taken up on May 23

56.84% polling in Uttar Pradesh till 6 pm

Over 56 per cent polling was recorded till 6 pm in 13 Lok Sabha seats of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, officials said. In Varanasi, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a second term, the voter turnout was 58.05 per cent.

“Till 6 pm, the turnout (across 13 seats) was 56.84 per cent. Those who are in queue till 6 pm are being allowed to cast their votes,” a state election office spokesperson said.

According to the data given by the state election office till 6 pm, the highest turnout was 62.40 per cent in Maharajganj, while Ballia reported the lowest turnout of 52.50 per cent. In Gorakhpur, the turnout was 57.38 per cent.

Violence erupted in Chandauli Lok Sabha constituency, where state Bharatiya Janata Party chief Mahendra Nath Pandey is seeking re-election, when supporters of the saffron party and the Samajwadi Party clashed. “The incident was reported from Parahupur Sikatiya village in Chandauli. A police team rushed to the spot and the situation was brought under control,” Additional Chief Electoral Officer B D R Tiwari said.

Two election officials deputed at different polling booths in Gorakhpur and Bansgaon constituencies died of sudden illness, officials said. Rajaram, 56, was a polling officer of booth number 381 at Prathmik Vidhyalay Madhopur in Pipraich area in Gorakhpur seat, Assistant Election Officer J N Maurya said. He was rushed to a community health centre where he was declared dead. In the Bansgaon, Vinod Srivastav, 50, deputed at polling booth number 219, died around midnight due to cardiac arrest. He was an employee with the sugarcane department.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was among the early voters in Gorakhpur. “People are fighting this election for nation’s interest and if someone cannot understand this thing, his IQ (intelligence quotient) is questionable,” Adityanath said after casting his ballot. “The entire election revolved around Modi ji. With big achievements of his government during the last five years, the BJP will win the election.”

Union minister Shiv Pratap Shukla, who also exercised his franchise in Gorakhpur, said BJP candidate Ravi Kishan would win by a margin of over three lakh votes and the party would form the government.

A report from Chandauli said the fingers of Dalits had been inked before they could actually cast their vote in Tara Jivanpur village under Alinagar police station. Asked to comment on the report, the additional chief electoral officer said: “We have taken cognizance of the entire incident and an FIR has been registered. Prima facie, names of workers of a political party have come to the fore. The administration has assured the people that they do not need to fear.”

On death of an election official in Gorakhpur, Tiwari said: “The matter is being probed. If someone is seriously ill, then he is not deployed on poll duty. People submit their requests (for exemption from election duty) and the district administration considers such requests with sensitivity. However, if any untoward incident is to take place, no one can forecast it.”

When asked whether there were lack of medical facilities for the election officials, the additional CEO said, “There is proper medical arrangement and first -aid kits have been given to all the poll staff.”

The additional CEO also said reports of EVM malfunctioning were reported from some places but polling was not hampered. “We also got reports of poll boycott from certain places in Gorakhpur, Mirzapur, Varanasi and Mau. Officials rushed to those places to pacify the voters,” he said.

The polling was held in Maharajganj, Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Deoria, Bansgaon (SC), Ghosi, Salempur, Ballia, Ghazipur, Chandauli, Varanasi, Mirzapur and Robertsganj (SC). Union minister Manoj Sinha is seeking re-election from Ghazipur.

The BJP is contesting 11 Lok Sabha seats in this phase, while its ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) is contesting from Mirzapur, currently held by Union minister Anupriya Patel, and Robertsganj. The saffron party has pitted Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan from Gorakhpur against Congress’ Madhusudan Tripathi and Rambhual Nishad of the Samajwadi Party.

Gorakhpur MP Pravin Nishad, who had won the seat on a SP ticket in bypolls last year, has joined the BJP. The party has fielded him from Sant Kabir Nagar seat. Gorakhpur was represented by Yogi Adityanath in the Lok Sabha from 1998 to 2017, before he became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.

The final phase of Lok Sabha polls in the state will decide the fate of eight SP and five BSP candidates. In all, there are 167 candidates in the fray for 13 seats. The highest number of 26 candidates in the fray are from Varanasi, while Bansgaon has the least number of four candidates fighting the polls.

The total number of voters who are eligible to cast their votes in this phase is over 2.32 crore. As many as 25,874 polling booths have been set up in 13,979 polling centres, the Election Commission added.

Maina Devi, a 115-year-old voter, being assisted at a polling booth during the seventh and last phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Kushinagar, on Sunday, May 19, 2019. (PIB/PTI Photo)

66% polling in Himachal till 5 pm

Shimla: The four Lok Sabha seats of Himachal Pradesh witnessed a turnout of 66.35 per cent till 5 pm on Sunday, officials said.

The voting turnout has already crossed the 2014 general election’s polling percentage of 64.45 per cent in the state.

Interestingly, 132 percent turnout has been recorded in the world’s highest polling station in Tashigang village of Himachal Pradesh’s tribal Lahaul and Spiti district, a district official said.

There are total 49 registered voters in the Tashigang polling station. Of these, 33 voters cast their votes till 3 pm. Apart from the registered voters, 32 members of the poll staff deployed at the Tashigang polling station and several nearby booths cast their vote here after showing election duty certificate (EDCs) issued to them by concerned AROs, he added.

The Tashigang polling station is situated at a height of 15,256 feet above the sea level, State’s Assistant Chief Electoral Officer Harbans Lal Dhiman said.

The temperature was below freezing point at Tashigang when the polling began at 7 am. The voters came to the polling station while wearing their traditional attire for exercising their right to franchise.

A bridegroom exercised his right to franchise in Kothi polling station in Manali of Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu district.

Before proceeding to his bride’s village for his marriage, Anil, 28, of Kothi village near Manali, led his entire wedding procession to the polling booth number eight in the city and cast his vote, besides making his wedding companions to do the same.

“Anil cast his vote before proceeding for his marriage,” a district election official said, adding the groom reached the polling with many of his wedding procession members.

The first Indian voter, Shyam Saran Negi, 101, cast his vote a Kinnaur district’s Kalpa polling booth under Mandi Lok Sabha seat. He was given warm welcome by the election staff at the booth.

However the voters of a village on the Sino-India border in Himachal Pradesh have boycotted the Lok Sabha poll as the government “failed” to find a permanent solution to frequent floods they face.

Located at an altitude of 10,000 feet and around 350 km from state capital Shimla, voters at Geu village in Lahaul and Spiti district said they had been demanding their resettlement, but their demands remained unheard.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur along with his family members cast his vote at Bharari (Murhag) in Seraj Vidhan Sabha constituency of Mandi district.

EVM snags delayed voting at nine polling stations, but it restarted after the faulty machines were replaced, a state election officer said.

In Hatli Jamwal area of Nurpur Assembly segment in Kangra district, the polling was stopped in the morning for about an hour due to faulty VVPAT machine. It was immediately reported and the VVPAT was changed.

In Khannai area, two differently-abled voters, both visually-impaired -- Saraj Deen, 70, and Shaver Deen, 41, were escorted by officials from their house in a government vehicle to the polling station to cast their votes.

Polling is underway in Shimla (SC), Mandi, Hamirpur and Kangra. Five MLAs, including a state minister, are among the 45 candidates in fray.

A total of 7,730 polling stations have been set up in 4 constituencies -- Shimla (SC), Mandi, Hamirpur and Kangra -- in the state where 53,30,154 registered voters are registered.

69.33% voter turnout at 6pm in Madhya Pradesh

Around 69.33 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 6 pm on Sunday in the eight Lok Sabha seats of Madhya Pradesh, an official said.

Polling was underway since 7 am in the eight seats - Dewas, Ujjain, Mandsaur, Ratlam, Dhar, Indore, Khargone and Khandwa - in the fourth and final phase of Lok Sabha elections in the state, Chief Electoral Officer V L Kantha Rao said.

The voting figures till 6 pm were: Dewas- 73.88 per cent, Ujjain 67.53 per cent, Mandsaur- 73.01 per cent, Ratlam- 69.18 per cent, Dhar- 67.18 per cent, Indore 64.10 per cent, Khargone- 70.69 per cent and Khandwa- 70.57 per cent, another poll official said.

Prominent candidates in the fray are former Union ministers Kantilal Bhuria and Arun Yadav of the Congress, who are contesting from Ratlam and Khandwa seats, respectively. Altogether 82 candidates are contesting in the eight constituencies where there are 1.49 crore eligible voters.

Total 18,411 polling booths, including 1,157 entirely managed by women, have been set up in these seats, Rao said. An average 69.26 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the first three phases of the Lok Sabha polls in the state, he added.

Out of the total 29 Lok Sabha seats in MP, six went to polls on April 29, seven on May 6 and eight on May 12.

70.54 per cent polling in 3 LS seats of Jharkhand

Ranchi  An estimated 70.54 per cent of the over 45.64 lakh electorate exercised their franchise in three Lok Sabha constituencies in the fourth and final phase of polling in Jharkhand on Sunday.

Of the three constituencies, Rajmahal recorded the highest turnout at 71.69 per cent, followed by Dumka at 71.10 per cent and Godda at 69.11 per cent, an Election Commission official said, updating the figure at the end of polling.

Polling was peaceful with no untoward incidents reported from the three Lok Sabha seats.

Former Chief Minister Shibu Soren was in the fray from Dumka seat.

Soren, the chief of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and a 8th term sitting MP was pitted against BJP’s Sunil Soren. The JMM leader had defeated his BJP challenger twice in 2009 and 2014.

JMM’s sitting MP, Vijay Kumar Hansda, contested against BJP’s Hemlal Murmu from Rajmahal seat. Hansda had defeated Murmu in 2014.

Sitting BJP MP Nishikant Dubey was pitted against JVM MLA Pradip Yadav from Godda seat.

Of the 42 contestants, 15 candidates were in the fray from Dumka, 14 contestants from Rajmahal and 13 from Godda.

Inspector General of Police (Operation) Ashish Batra said that 37,398 security personnel were deployed across the three constituencies as part of security arrangements.

 

Voters wait for their turn to cast their vote at Danapur under Patliputra parliamentary constituency in Bihar during final phase of Lok Sabha general elections, on Sunday 19 May, 2019   -  The Hindu

 

53.55 per cent polling in eight LS seats of Bihar

An estimated 53.55 per cent of over 1.52 crore voters exercised their franchise on Sunday in eight Lok Sabha constituencies of Bihar in the seventh and final phase of the general election.

Polling, was held at 15,811 booths in the eight seats - Nalanda, Patna Sahib, Pataliputra, Arrah, Buxar, Jehanabad, Sasaram (SC) and Karakat - amid tight security.

Of the eight Lok Sabha constituencies, Sasaram recorded the highest turnout at 57.74 per cent, followed by Pataliputra at 57.26 per cent, Buxar at 55.60 per cent, Karakat at 55 per cent, Nalanda at 54.40 per cent, Jehanabad at 54 per cent and Arrah at 52.60 per cent, an Election Commission official said.

Patna Sahib, the high-profile seat with 21,42,842 voters in the state, recorded the lowest turnout at 43.54 per cent.

Altogether 157 candidates, including four Union ministers, were in the fray in the seventh phase of the parliamentary polls.

Voting was also held for bypoll to Dehri Assembly seat, which fell vacant last year upon the disqualification of RJD MLA and former state minister Mohd Ilyas Husain - convicted in the bitumen scam by a Ranchi court.

Private security guards of RJD leader Tej Pratap Yadav beat up a couple of photo journalists in the city after one of them allegedly smashed the windscreen of the former Bihar minister’s vehicle, enraged over the car crushing the toes of a fellow lensman.

The incident took place at the Veterinary College here, where a polling station had been set up and the maverick leader had arrived to cast his vote for the Patna Sahib Lok Sabha constituency.

Barring a few instances of EVM glitches, polling had been peaceful, the election official said.

“Going by the reports that reached us from the district headquarters, we have found out that the voting process was temporarily hampered at a few polling stations in Arrah, Sasaram, Jehanabad, Pataliputra and Buxar. The officials attended to the complaints and redressed the grievances,” he said.

Prominent candidates whose electoral fate were sealed in Sunday’s polling include Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, his Congress rival Shatrughan Sinha (Patna Sahib), Union minister Ram Kripal Yadav, his RJD rival Misa Bharti (Pataliputra), Central ministers Ashwini Kumar Choubey (Buxar) and R K Singh (Ara), and former Lok Sabha speaker and senior Congress leader Meira Kumar (Sasaram).

Kumar, after casting his vote at a polling station near Raj Bhawan, told reporters that summer months were not appropriate for holding the elections.

“Such long-drawn elections should not be held in intense heat conditions. This is not an appropriate time (conducive atmosphere) for holding elections. It must be held in February-March or October-November in two to three phases,” he said.

Some of the restaurants in Patna decided to offer discounts to customers who showed their inked fingers.

Conjoined twins Sabah and Farah (23), who earned their right to be treated as two different individuals, cast their votes separately for the first time.

“We are very happy that we have been given separate voting rights. We have voted for development,” Sabah said.

Voters show their fingers marked with indelible ink at a polling station during the seventh and last phase of Lok Sabha elections, at village Bhoot, near Amritsar, on Sunday, May 19, 2019. (PTI Photo)   -  PTI

 

Nearly 59% cast vote in Punjab, amid minor clashes

Nearly 59 per cent of 2.07 crore voters exercised their franchise for 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, amid reports of minor clashes between Congress and SAD-BJP workers at a few places.

About 64 per cent turnout was registered in Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat where polling remained peaceful, poll officials said. The 13 seats in Punjab and the lone seat of Chandigarh went to polls in the seventh and final phase of the general election.

The poll percentage figures in Punjab and in the Union territory’s lone seat were estimated at the close of polling at 6 pm, the officials said, adding that the exact turnout will be known later. As many as 278 candidates, including 24 women, are in the fray and results will be declared on May 23.

Of the eligible voters in Punjab, 98,29,916 were female and 560 belonged to the third gender. The LS constituencies in Punjab that witnessed a higher voter turnout included Patiala (64.18 pc), Ferozepur (63.11 pc), Sangrur (62.67 pc), Bathinda (62.24 pc), while Amritsar (52.47 pc) and Hoshiapur (56.27 pc) recorded a relatively low turnout.

Barring stray incidents of clashes, polling remained peaceful in Punjab.

At Talwandi Sabo, Moga and Sangrur, minor clashes were witnessed between Congress and Akali Dal workers. At Talwandi Sabo, which falls under Bathinda parliamentary constituency, the opposition Akali Dal alleged that shots were fired by workers of the ruling Congress in Punjab.

Punjab’s Chief Electoral Officer S Karuna Raju said, “An incident of firing was reported in Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda“. Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, after casting her vote in Bathinda, charged the Punjab government with “misusing” the official machinery to “intimidate” Akali supporters.

In the morning, there were reports of technical glitches in EVMs at several places including Ludhiana, Samana and Moga. Eight ballot units, 13 control units, and eight voter-verified paper audit trail were replaced, Raju said. He said a voter was nabbed for clicking picture inside a polling booth in Ludhiana and a case has been registered against him under the Representation of People’s Act.

As polling began at 7am, voters including elders, women and youth queued up at several polling stations to exercise their franchise. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, his wife Preneet Kaur along with his other family members also exercised their franchise at Patiala in the afternoon.

Earlier, former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, his wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal and their two daughters also cast their vote. Cricketer Harbhajan Singh exercised his franchise in Jalandhar.

For Chandigarh seat, BJP candidate Kirron Kher is locked in an electoral battle against former railway minister and Congress candidate and four-time MP, Pawan Kumar Bansal. Prominent faces among candidates who are in fray in Punjab included SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Hardeep Puri and Bollywood actor Sunny Deol.

Besides Sukhbir Badal, who entered fray from Ferozepur, his wife and Union minister Harsimrat Badal is seeking re-election from Bathinda for the third time. Union minister and BJP candidate Puri is contesting from Amritsar seat. BJP’s Sunny Deol is making his electoral debut from Gurdaspur constituency against State Congress chief and sitting MP Sunil Jakhar.

AAP’s Bhagwant Mann is seeking re-election from Sangrur seat. As many as nine sitting MLAs and 10 sitting MPs from various parties are in fray. Among Congress’s heavyweights, former Union minister Manish Tewari is in fray from Anandpur Sahib while former Union minister and wife of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Preneet Kaur, contested from Patiala seat.

On most of the 13 seats, the contest appeared to be a direct fight between the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance.

In 2014, the AAP and the SAD had won four seats each, the Congress three and the BJP two. More than one lakh security personnel including paramilitary force had been deployed in the state for conducting free and fair polling.

A total of 23,213 polling stations had been set up and which 249 were categorised as critical while 719 and 509 booths had been declared sensitive and hyper sensitive, respectively. In Chandigarh, over 6.46 lakh voters in Chandigarh were eligible to cast vote in which 36 candidates, nine of them women, are in the fray.

Published on May 19, 2019
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