Elections

63 per cent voting in Phase 6; violence mars polling in Bengal

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 12, 2019 Published on May 12, 2019

Former FICCI President Sidhartha Birla (left) and Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal after casting their votes in New Delhi on Sunday   -  Kamal Narang

B.LINE: coming out after casting vote in New Delhi, in New Delhi, on 12.5.19 Pic : Kamal Narang

Sixth phase polling saw BJP looking to expand in violence-torn West Bengal while Opposition stroke to recover lost ground in the Hindi heartland states

The trend of violence and high polling continued in West Bengal, while the voter turnout was more or less similar to 2014 in the six States in the Hindi heartland, where voting took place on Sunday for the penultimate phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

The overall turnout was 63.03 per cent, against 63.67 per cent in 2014, for 59 Lok Sabha seats across seven States in the sixth phase.

The ruling BJP is looking to expand horizons in West Bengal against a violent resistance by TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, while it is defending its 2014 sweep of 46 of the 59 Lok Sabha seats in this phase against a relatively stronger Congress in Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand and a spirited fight-back by an alliance of regional parties in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Polling took place for 14 seats in UP, 10 in Haryana, seven in Delhi, four in Jharkhand and eight each in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal.

The fate of former UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who is contesting from Azamgarh, will be decided in this phase along with that of Congress bigwig Digvijay Singh, who is locked in a polarised contest with Pragya Thakur in Bhopal. Former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda (Sonipat) and former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit (North-East Delhi) are among the other key contestants.

Complaints to EC

In West Bengal, complaints were made to the Election Commission, both by the BJP and the TMC, as pre-poll violence late on Saturday claimed the life of a BJP activist.

Clashes were reported from the former Left bastions of Jhargram, Purulia, Bankura, Midnapur and other areas even as the poll percentage in the State hit a high of 80.16 per cent.

The BJP complained to the EC about the “involvement of outsiders” brought in by the TMC to “vitiate the polls” while it also claimed that its leader Bharati Ghosh was “illegally” restrained in Keshpur by the local administration.

In Delhi, a three-corner contest has consolidated the BJP against a split voter base of the Congress and the ruling AAP.

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Published on May 12, 2019
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