The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday said that approximately 62.84 per cent voter turnout was recorded as of 8 p.m. for polling across 96 parliamentary constituencies in the fourth phase spread across ten states and Union Territories. Voter turnout was the highest in West Bengal at 75.94 per cent on eight of its seats followed by Madhya Pradesh at 68.63 per cent on the same number of seats and Andhra Pradesh 68.12 per cent in 25 constituencies.

Key states such as Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar recorded comparatively lower voter turnouts. While polling in 11 seats of Maharashtra was 52.75 per cent, Bihar recorded 55.90 per cent for five seats and Uttar Pradesh 57.88 per cent for 13 constituencies.

‘stray instances’

The voter turnout in fourseats of Jharkhand was 63.37 per cent, Odisha was 63.85 per cent for same number of constituencies and Telangana 61.39 per cent for 16 seats.

In the fourth phase of polling in 2019, the turnout was higher at 64 per cent but the constituencies were lesser (72) and the spread was also different.

Polling began at 7 a.m. on Monday and closed at its scheduled time of 6 p.m, but a large number of voters were still in the queue at polling stations, informed the ECI.

Though the elections were largely peaceful, especially in the lone seat of Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir, which recorded a voter turn out of 36.58 per cent that the ECI described as the “highest in many decades”, stray instances of violence were reported between Trinamool Congress and BJP workers in West Bengal and YSRCP and TDP cadres in Andhra Pradesh.

The ECI, however, in its press release merely stated that “polling was held smoothly and peacefully”. The Commission also stated that stringent security measures were in place creating a conducive environment for voters to cast their vote without fear or intimidation.

Prominent figures among 1,717 candidates contesting the polls included AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, TMC leaders Mahua Moitra, Shatrughan Sinha and Yusuf Pathan, JDU’s Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lalan, and BJP leaders Arjun Munda, Giriraj Singh, and Madhavi Latha, and Andhra Pradesh Congress Chief YS Sharmila.

highest in recent past

According to the Commission, the polling in J&K, being held for the first time after abrogation of article 370, was peaceful with 36.58 percent voter turnout recorded at Srinagar seat was the highest in the recent past except for 1996 elections when it was 40.94 per cent. In the last two Lok Sabha polls of 2019 and 2014, it was 14.43 per cent and 25.86 per cent respectively.

“Voters of Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal, Pulwama, and Shopian showed up in record numbers to cast their votes in a show of faith and enthusiasm in the election process,” the ECI stated.

The interest in polls in J&K is also visible since there are 24 candidates in the fray for five seats this time as compared to 12 in the 2019 general election. “Polling personnel including security personnel worked tirelessly to ensure that an atmosphere of calm, peace and festivities welcomed voters at the polling stations,” the ECI noted of J&K.

Simultaneous polling for 175 seats of the Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly and 28 seats out of the 147 seats in the Odisha legislative assembly were also held.

With the fourth phase voting ended on Monday, the general elections has crossed the halfway mark with voting completed in 23 states/UTs and 379 Lok Sabha constituencies.

Polling is also complete for state legislative assemblies of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh and 28 of 147 assembly seats of Odisha.