Elections

66% voter turnout in third phase for LS polls

Our Bureau New Delhi/Moradabad | Updated on April 23, 2019 Published on April 23, 2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi waits in a queue to cast his vote at a polling booth, during the third phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Randip of Ahmedabad, on Tuesday   -  PTI

The third and largest phase of Lok Sabha polls, including 303 of the total 543 parliamentary constituencies, got over amid violence in West Bengal on Wednesday with about 66 per cent voting across 117 seats in 13 States and two Union Territories. The poll percentage for this phase showed a drop since 2014 when it was 69.3 per cent.

The fate of star candidates – Congress President Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad and BJP President Amit Shah from Gandhinagar – would be decided in this phase, which saw polling for the whole of Gujarat and Kerala and half of Karnataka.

In Uttar Pradesh, where the polling percentage saw a slight drop – from 61.48 per cent to 60.52 per cent in 10 seats across the western region, the fast emerging story was the nail-biting contest between the Mahagathbandhan and the BJP in which the alliance weighed heavily on the ruling party in the 10 seats that polled during the third phase on Tuesday.

“This election is about those who want to elect Narendra Modi as Prime Minister and those who don’t. There is no other factor. The Mahagathbandhan is a new phenomenon but the Modi factor will conquer that,” Minister in UP Cabinet Chowdhary Bhuepndra Singh told BusinessLine

In five eastern and north eastern States, voting took place for 21 seats, including six Lok Sabha seats in Odisha, four constituencies in Assam, five seats each in Bihar and West Bengal and a lone constituency in Tripura. Polling was also underway in 42 Assembly constituencies in Odisha along with the Lok Sabha polls. High voting percentage and violence with a Congress activist reportedly being killed outside a polling booth in Murshidabad marked polling for five seats in West Bengal.

The BJP is hoping to make inroads in at least one, Balurghat where the polling percentage had already reached 80.98 per cent by 5 pm, among the five seats that polled. In rest of the four seats, the contest was mainly between the Congress and the Trinamool Congress. In Congress stronghold of Malda, which was represented for years by the strong Abdul Ghani Khan Chowdhury, the TMC had weaned away the Congress’s sitting MP Mausam Noor from Malda(North) seat. The ruling party in the State was claiming victory in this as well as the Mada(South) seat. In Jangipur, former President Pranab Mukherjee’s son Abhijit Mukherjee was locked in a close contest with the TMC. The TMC also claimed that it was snatching the Murshidabad seat from the CPI(M). In Bengal, the voting percentage stood at 69.36 at 6.45 pm.

In Kerala, where polling took place for all the 20 seats, the voting percentage was high, having crossed 74 per cent till 6.30 pm and people were still standing in queues. Congress President Rahul Gandhi is contesting from Wayanad which set a record for itself with 76 per cent till 6.30 pm. Polling here was 73.28 per cent in 2014.

Polling on all 26 parliamentary constituencies in Gujarat concluded peacefully with voter turnout inching closer to what was seen in 2014. As per the provisional turnout figures till 6 pm, the overall turnout stood at nearly 62.36 per cent, slightly lower than 63.3 per cent reported in 2014, when the ruling BJP had a clean sweep by winning all 26 seats.

 

PTI adds

Karnataka: Estimated 60.42 polling percentage reported

An estimated 60.42 per cent voter turnout was reported tentatively in 14 Lok Sabha constituencies of Karnataka, for which polls were held on Tuesday, with the Congress-JD(S) allianceand BJP locked in a fierce contest.

Shimoga, where state BJP chief and former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa’s son B Y Raghavendra is pitted against another former Chief Minister S Bangarappa’s son Madhu, recorded the highest turnout of about 68.39 per cent, poll officials said.

The lowest was reported in Raichur with 51.75 per cent, they said, giving the polling percentage till 5 PM, which is expected to go up further in the final tally. In Gulbarga, a key constituency where Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge is pitted against Umesh Jadhav of BJP, 52.18 per cent voting has taken place so far.

Uttara Kannada,where Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde is locking horns with Anand Asnotikar of JD(S) reported 65.58 per cent turnout,while Bijapur,where another union Minister Ramesh Jigajinagi is contesting against Sunitha Devanand Chavan, a political greenhorn, recorded 53.85 per cent.

Voting took place in 28,022 polling stations in the second phase that are mostly in the northern part of the state, covering the entire Hyderabad-Karnataka and Mumbai-Karnataka regions, as also a couple of central districts and coastal Uttara Kannada.

The BJP,that has a considerable presence in the region, aims to improve its tally, banking on the “Modi wave” and the support of the dominant Lingayat community, considered its vote base.

For the Congress-JD(S) alliance, it is a high stakes battle as their performance is likely to have a bearing on the coalition government in the state. As Congress sought votes,hoping to cash in on the alleged anti-incumbency against sitting BJP MPs and policies of the Modi government, BJP raised the Lingayat issue intending to further consolidate the community’s votes in its favour, that is already considered as its strong vote base.

BJP accused the Congress of trying to divide the community for political gains, pointing at the grand old party’s support for demand to accord religious minority status to Lingayats. The then Congress government’s decision to recommend the status to Lingayat community is said to be one of the reasons for the party’s debacle in the May 2018 assembly polls and BJP aimed to capitalize on it, using the issue once again.

Also read: Kharge, sons of former CMs in fray in Karnataka

Also read: BJP leader hopeful of 23 seats in Karnataka

Of the 14 constituencies that went to polls in the second phase, BJP is contesting all the seats.

Congress and JD(S)have fielded their candidates in 12 and two constituencies respectively under their seat sharing arrangement. While the Congress currently has its hold on only four of the 14 seats that went to the polls, BJP has its sitting MPs in 10 seats.

For veteran Congress leader Kharge, a nine-time MLA and two-term Lok Sabha member, who has never tasted electoral defeat, this poll is said to be a tough battle in Gulbarga against Jadhav, who quit as rebel Congress MLA and joined BJP.

In Belgaum, where Congress is hit by dissidence with rebel MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi hinting about quitting the grand old party, 58.72 per cent polling was registered till 5 PM. Jarkiholi, against whom the Congress has moved a disqualification petition to the Speaker,according to reports, had asked his followers to favour BJP during the polls. He had also stayed away from campaigning and Rahul Gandhi’s events inthe district recently.

Officials said Chikkodi recorded 64.59 per cent, Bagalkot 63.78per cent, Bidar 56.90, Koppal 60.66, in mine rich Bellary 61.83 per cent, Haveri 63.22 per cent, Dharwad 61.95 per cent and Davangere 66.38 per cent.

As many as 2,43,03,279 voters were eligible to choose from among 237 candidates in the fray in the second phase. Among the 237 candidates, 227 are men and 10 women.

Belgaum, with 57, has the maximum number of candidates, while Raichur, with five, has the lowest in the second as well as the first phase.

In the first phase on April 18, 14 constituencies in the southern part of the state covering old Mysuru region and a couple of coastal districts had gone to the polls, recording an overall voter turnout of 68.81 per cent.

Almost 65% polling till 5 pm in Chhattisgarh

A voter turnout of 64.68 per cent was registered till 5 pm in the third and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections in Chhattisgarh Tuesday covering seven seats where polling was by and large peaceful amid heavy presence of security personnel.

Initially, a low turnout was witnessed at the polling booths, but as the day progressed, people came out in large numbers to exercise their franchise braving scorching heat, an election official said. “An estimated 64.68 per cent voting has been recorded till 5 pm. The final turnout figure may go up as we are still compiling the data,” the official said.

Queues of voters were seen at several booths even after the 5 pm deadline in the Lok Sabha constituencies covered under the third and last phase of polling - Raipur, Durg, Bilaspur, Korba, Janjgir-Champa (SC), Surguja (ST) and Raigarh (ST), he added. The turnout was 55.29 per cent till 3 pm, up from 30 per cent till noon and 12 per cent till 9:30 am, the official said.

Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ramvichar Netam and former Assembly speaker Gaurishankar Agrawal, among other prominent leaders, cast their votes in the state. In many places, newly married couples, in wedding attire, reached polling booths to exercise their franchise, the poll official said.

As many as 123 candidates are in the fray in the seven seats where the main fight is between the ruling Congress and the BJP, which lost power in last year’s state polls. Altogether 1,27,13,816 voters - 64,16,252 men, 62,96,992 women and 572 members of the third gender - were eligible to exercise their franchise in the seven seats, where a total 15,408 polling booths were set up, the official said.

Raipur and Bilaspur seats have the maximum number of candidates (25 each) followed by Durg-21, Jangir-Champa-15, Raigarh-14, Korba-13 and Surguja-10.

Around 60,000 security personnel consisting of state and paramilitary forces were deployed for smooth conduct of voting. No major incident of violence was reported from anywhere in the constituencies that voted in the third phase.

Chhattisgarh has a total of 11 Lok Sabha seats. In the 2004, 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha polls held after the formation of Chhattisgarh in November 2000, the BJP won 10 of the 11 seats every time. This time, the Congress, buoyed by its victory in the Assembly elections last year, is hoping to improve its tally in the state.

Voting for the 11 Lok Sabha seats in the state was scheduled in three phases. The Naxal-hit Bastar (ST) constituency went to the polls in the first phase on April 11, while voting in three other seats - Rajanandgaon, Kanker (ST) and Mahasamund - was held in the second phase on April 18.

Kerala: Over 70.28% electors cast votes by 5 pm

A late surge of voters saw the polling percentage mount to 70.28 by 5 PM in the Lok Sabha elections in Kerala on Tuesday. Women turned out in large numbers in all the booths in several of the 20 constituencies that went to polls.

The turnout which hovered little over 56 per cent at 3 pm picked up in the late afternoon and stood at 70.28 per cent, officials said.

People line up to cast their votes outside a polling station during the third phase of the general election in Kochi, April 23, 2019.   -  REUTERS

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor and Union minister Alphons Kannamthanam and BJP leader Kummanam Rajashekharan are among those who are trying their luck from the state. Wayanad, from where Gandhi is contesting besides his stronghold Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, recorded a voting percentage of 73.18 till 5 pm.

However, it is raining heavily in Wayanad, especially Sultan Bathery and Kalpetta areas, causing anxiety among the political leaders if the turnout would be affected in the dying hours of the polling.

Also read: Brisk polling in Wayanad with Rahul Gandhi in the fray

Kannur recorded the highest voting percentage of 75.41 per cent at 5 pm while Ponnani recorded the lowest 64.91 per cent.

Thiruvananthapuram, where Congress nominee and former union minister Sashi Tharoor is locked in a fierce triangular battle involving BJP’s Kumanam Rajasekharan and CPI’s C Divakaran, registered 65.76 per cent polling.

Two elderly persons collapsed and died while waiting to cast their votes in polling booths at Vatakara and Pathnamthitta constituencies, while another person, who returned home after voting, complained of uneasiness and died shortly thereafter, police said.

Communist stalwart and the lone surviving member of the first Kerala Legislative Assembly, K R Gowri, who turned 100 last year, and nonagenarian former Chief MinisterV S Achutanandan exercised their franchise at booths in Alappuzha.

A total of 2.61 voters have to chose from 227 candidates, including 23 women, who are in fray in the state. The strength of first time voters in Kerala is 2.88 lakh in the age group of 18-19.

71% voting in Goa by 5 pm

An average 70.90 per cent voting was registered in two Lok Sabha seats in Goa by 5 pm, election authorities said Tuesday evening. The polling across 1,652 polling stations has started at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm.

As per the data released by the Chief Electoral Officer, North Goa Lok Sabha constituency witnessed 72.97 per cent turnout by 5 pm, while in South Goa, the polling percentage was 68.90.

The state is also having by-elections to three Assembly constituencies. Mapusa Assembly constituency registered 75.17 per cent polling till 5 pm, Shiroda 75.72 per cent and Mandrem 75.99 per cent.

57.01% voter turnout in Maharashtra by 5 pm

An average 57.01 per cent turnout was recorded at the end of voting hours across 14 Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra which went to the polls in the third phase of elections on Tuesday.

The polling began at 7 am and ended at 5 pm. Final figures will be available later as queues of voters were being seen at several centres at 5 pm.

The Kolhapur Lok Sabha constituency had recorded 65.70 per cent voting till 5 pm, followed by Hatkanangale at 64.79 per cent, according to the state election office.

The voting figures in other constituencies at 5 pm were as follows: Jalgaon 52.28 per cent, Raver 56.98 per cent, Jalna 59.92 per cent, Aurangabad 58.52 per cent, Raigad 56.14 per cent, Pune 43.63 per cent, Baramati 55.84 per cent, Ahmednagar 57.75 per cent, Madha 56.41 per cent, Sangli 59.39 per cent, Satara 55.40 per cent and Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg 57.63 per cent.

State BJP president Raosaheb Danve (Jalna) and NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule (Baramati) are among the prominent candidates in the fray.

Also read: Many close fights in 14 Maharashtra seats

UP records 57% voter turnout till 5 pm

Braving the scorching sun, 56.71 per cent of the voters exercised their franchise in 10 constituencies in Uttar Pradesh by 5 pm Tuesday, with an hour still to go before polling closed in the third phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

Prominent 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.

According to the Election Commission, voters turnout till 5 pm was 58.31 per cent in Moradabad, 56.97 per cent in Rampur, 56.01 per cent in Sambhal, 54.92 per cent in Firozabad, 53.35 percent in Mainpuri, 58.35 per cent in Etah, 55.60 per cent in Badaun, 55.35 per cent in Aonla, 57.35 per cent in Bareilly and 60.93 per cent in Pilibhit.

There were complaints of electronic voting machines (EVMs) malfunctioning at some booths and they were promptly attended to, Chief Electoral Officer L Venkateshwar Lu said here. The SP lodged a complaint over the alleged malfunctioning of EVMs with the Election Commission, terming it criminal negligence.

A report from Sambhal said some EVMs developed snags in Chandausi and Asmoli assembly segments of the Aonla Lok Sabha seat. In Pilibhit, polling at a sensitive booth in Kukrikheda started late by about an hour due to faulty EVMs.

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

SP leader and former chairman of Bhargain Nagar Panchayat, Ahmed Nafis, was taken into custody in Kasganj in Etah after authorities anticipated breach of peace. He was to be placed in police custody till 6 pm, officials said.

SP MP Dharmendra Yadav, who is seeking re-election from Badaun, lodged a complaint against senior state minister Swami Prasad Maurya, claiming that he was campaigning in the constituency for his daughter and BJP candidate Sanghmitra Maurya. But a raid at a house by district administration officials failed to locate him.

Poll rules bar party leaders from camping in a constituency after campaigning ends, unless they themselves are registered voters there.

The Uttar Pradesh seats where polling took place Tuesday are spread over the Rohilkhand region, where the BJP had won seven out of the 10 seats in 2014. SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav (Mainpuri) and nephews Dharmendra Yadav and Akshay Yadav (Badaun) and Akshay Yadav (Firozabad) are seeking re-election.

Pitted against Akshay Yadav, son of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s cousin Ram Gopal Yadav, is Shivpal Yadav, another brother of the SP patriarch. Shivpal Yadav floated a new political outfit, Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia), after falling out with SP president Akhilesh Yadav.

In 2014, Mulayam Singh had won both the Mainpuri and Azamgarh seats, but vacated the first one, which was won by another family member Tej Pratap Singh in a bye-election. Senior SP leader Azam Khan is contesting from Rampur which witnessed a new low in campaigning this time with the controversial leader making a derogatory remark against BJP candidate Jaya Prada.

Other political heavyweights in Tuesday’s test include Union Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar, who is fighting from Bareilly and BJP’s Varun Gandhi from Pilibhit.

Altogether 1.76 crore voters were eligible to exercise their franchise in this phase at 20,116 polling booths. Some 120 candidates are in the fray for the 10 seats. With three polling phases nationwide over now, voting has taken place in 26 of the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in Uttar Pradesh.

The Bharatiya Janata Party here faces an alliance of the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal.which was won by another family member Tej Pratap Singh in the subsequent bye-election.

Also read: 11 Lok Sabha seats, SP and BSP never won in UP

Gujarat: 59% voter turnout till 5 pm

An estimated 59 per cent voter turnout was registered till 5 pm on Tuesday for the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat, where polling was by and large peaceful barring a few stray incidents, said officials.

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 Pateland Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani exercised their franchise at different places in the state.

Also read: PM Modi casts vote in Ahmedabad

According to the latest data released by the Election Commission (EC), 58.96 per cent of the total registered voters across Gujarat cast their ballots between 7 am and 5 am, a figure lower than 2014.

In the 2014 polls, the total voting percentage was 63.6 per cent in the home state of Modi.

Barring a few incidents, the polling remained largely peaceful, said the officials. In Junagadh, two persons were arrested by the police for allegedly threatening voters in the Ambedkarnagar area of the city, said the officials, who swung into action after a video of the incident went viral on social media. “Based on a complaint given by local Congress leaders, the police rushed to the spot and arrested two persons who can be seen in the video,” said Junagadh collector Sourabh Pardhi.

In Dahod, a mob of around 20 people barged into a polling booth at Zalod and allegedly beat up two persons who were deployed there for election duty, said the police, adding no one has been arrested yet in the case.

In another incident, workers of the Congress and the BJP engaged in a brawl at Dhanikhunt polling booth in Fatehpura taluka of Dahod district, said the police.

After casting his vote, Shah, the BJP candidate from Gandhinagar, urged people to come out in large numbers to exercise their franchise during the “festival of democracy“.

Also read: Amit Shah casts vote in Ahmedabad

According to Gujarat’s Additional Chief Electoral Officer Ashok Manek, some EVM machines were replaced after they experienced technical problems during polling. “Some EVM machines malfunctioned in some parts of the state. We quickly replaced them. Voting was not affected by this,” said Manek.

A detailed report about such EVMs will be released after the voting gets over in the evening, he said.

Less than 5% voter turnout in Anantnag in four hours of polling

Less than five per cent of the 5.30 lakh electorate of Anantnag district in the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency of Jammu and Kashmir exercised their franchise in the first four hours of polling Tuesday.

The overall poll percentage in Anantnag at 11.00 am was 4.79 per cent, an official spokesman said here. Nearly three per cent voting was recorded in the first two hours, he said. Polling ended at 4.00 pm, instead of the usual 6.00 pm, following a request by police.

The polling so far has been peaceful in the militancy-infested district, police officials said. Polling in the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency will be held in three legs

For the latest on elections, click: Elections 2019

Published on April 23, 2019
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