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LS Polls 2024: Around 61 pc polling in third phase

LS Polls 2024: Around 61 pc polling in third phase
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Clashes in West Bengal, SP alleges irregularities in UP

New Delhi: A voter turnout of 61.55 per cent was recorded on Tuesday in the third phase of Lok Sabha elections in 93 constituencies spread over 11 states and Union Territories with stray incidents of violence in West Bengal.

Assam recorded the highest turnout at 75.30 per cent followed by Goa at 74.32 per cent and West Bengal at 73.93 per cent, while Maharashtra witnessed the lowest at 54.98 per cent, with Bihar and Gujarat doing slightly better at 56.83 per cent, according to the figures from the Election Commission at 8 pm.

While the official time for voting to end is 6 pm, it can go beyond to enable voters who have come in the queue well before the end of fixed polling hours to exercise their franchise.

According to the EC, the figures are an “approximate” trend and are likely to rise as data was being collected.

Among other states, Uttar Pradesh recorded 57.34 per cent polling, Chhattisgarh 67.07 per cent, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu 65.23 per cent, Karnataka 68.14 per cent, and Madhya Pradesh 63.22 per cent, according to the EC.

As many as 17.24 crore people, including 8.39 crore females, were eligible to vote in the thirs phase and 1.85 lakh polling stations manned by 18.5 lakh officials had been set up.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah were among those who exercised their franchise in the state. While PM Modi cast his vote at a polling booth in Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency, Shah voted at a polling booth in Ahmedabad.

Shah (Gandhinagar) is among the bigwigs in the fray along with Union ministers Jyotiraditya Scindia (Guna), Mansukh Mandaviya (Porbandar), Parshottam Rupala (Rajkot), Pralhad Joshi (Dharwad) and SP Singh Baghel (Agra).

The stakes are high for the BJP in this round as it had won an overwhelming majority of these seats, including all in Gujarat, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, in the last election.

In Uttar Pradesh, where several members of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family are contesting, party chief Akhilesh Yadav alleged that the BJP workers were trying to “loot booths” in Mainpuri and people from opposition parties were being detained in police stations.

Yadav cast his vote in Saifai (Etawah) in the Mainpuri constituency where his wife and sitting MP Dimple Yadav is contesting.

Sporadic incidents of violence marred the third phase of Lok Sabha polls in four constituencies in West Bengal as TMC, BJP and Congress-CPI(M) workers clashed with each other in various parts of Murshidabad and Jangipur seats.

According to state election officials, Murshidabad registered the highest voter turnout of 76.49 per cent followed by Maldaha Dakshin (73.68 pc), Maldaha Uttar (73.30 pc), and Jangipur (72.13 pc).

The TMC, BJP, and the Congress-CPI(M) alliance lodged separate complaints related to poll violence, voter intimidation, and assaults on poll agents.

The EC received 182 complaints by 9 am, most of which were from Murshidabad and Jangipur constituencies.

In Murshidabad seat, Left-Congress combine candidate Mohammed Salim claimed that he caught hold of a “fake booth agent” in the Rabinagar area of the constituency. Salim faced “go back” slogans as he tried to enter a booth there following allegations of CPI(M) booth agents being heckled by alleged TMC goons.

“The TMC has unleashed a reign of terror in the entire constituency. Strict action must be taken by the Election Commission,” Salim said.

In the Karimpur area of the seat, clashes were reported between the TMC and the CPI(M) supporters outside a few booths. Clashes were reported between the TMC and the Congress activists from the Domkol area.

BJP candidate Dhanajoy Ghosh faced protests by TMC cadres in the Jangipur area as he tried to enter some of the booths in the constituency.

A scuffle broke out between Dhananjay Ghosh and TMC block president Goutam Ghosh, with both parties accusing each other of intimidating voters.

In the Englishbazar area in Maldaha Dakshin seat, the BJP accused the TMC of beating up their booth agents, similar complaints were lodged by the Congress against the state’s ruling party from the Ratua area in Malda.

In some areas, TMC workers staged protests alleging that central forces were assisting BJP workers in “intimidating” voters at booths in the Maldaha North constituency.

In Uttar Pradesh, Agra witnessed 51.53 per cent polling, Aonla 54.73 per cent, Budaun 52.77 per cent, Bareilly 54.21 per cent, Etah 57.07 per cent, Fatehpur Sikri 54.93 per cent, Firozabad 56.27 per cent, Hathras 53.54 per cent, Mainpuri 55.88 per cent and Sambhal 61.10 per cent.

“In Mainpuri, BJP people are trying to loot booths. They are detaining opposition people in police stations,” SP chief Yadav alleged without elaborating.

He also alleged rigging of votes at some places and said, “Information is coming from some places that the government is using force. It is heard that officers have been deployed outside polling booths.”

In Budaun, the villagers of Dhoranpur boycotted the polling to protest against the alleged non-fulfilment of their demand for a road.  District Magistrate Manoj Kumar said the issue has come to his notice and a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) has been sent to the village.

Not a single vote was also cast in three villages of Firozabad — Nagla Jawahar, Neem Kheria and Nagla Umar — as the villagers tried to draw the administration’s attention to their problems.

SP candidate Aditya Yadav in Budaun alleged that SP supporters were not being allowed to vote in some places.

“I have made a complaint in this regard with the EC observer and have given proof of police atrocities. We are only getting assurances,” he said.

SP candidate Zia-ur-Rehman Barq also alleged that a circle officer snatched voter slips from SP workers and detained them. He requested the EC to remove the officer immediately.

Queues were seen at polling booths in most Lok Sabha segments in northern districts of Karnataka.

Union Minister Pralhad Joshi and Bhagwanth Khuba, and Karnataka Minister Priyank Kharge were among those who came in early to cast their votes in Karnataka.

Former chief minister B S Yediyurappa along with sons B Y Raghavendra, BJP candidate from Shimoga Lok Sabha segment and B Y Vijayendra, party’s state President — and daughters-in-law cast their vote at Shikaripura in Shivamogga district.

Two government officials on poll duty died in Karnataka after suffering a heart attack, sources in the Election Commission said.

A 45-year-old woman polling officer – Kaushika Babariya- deployed at a polling booth in Amreli district of Gujarat, also died of a heart attack.

In Gujarat, the Banaskantha district collector ordered an inquiry after Congress Lok Sabha candidate Geniben Thakor alleged that electors were threatened and asked to vote for the BJP by some youngsters posing as Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel at a polling station.

In Maharashtra, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, his wife Sunetra Pawar, who is the NCP candidate from the Baramati Lok Sabha seat, and NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar were among those who cast their votes.

Sharad Pawar was welcomed with a traditional ‘aarti’ as he arrived at a polling booth in the Malegaon area of Baramati constituency in Pune district.

Ajit Pawar and Sunetra Pawar cast their votes at a polling booth in Katewadi area of Baramati.

Sunetra is pitted against her sister-in-law Supriya Sule, Sharad Pawar’s daughter and the sitting MP from there.

In Assam, people lined up in large numbers across four Lok Sabha constituencies to cast their vote.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma accompanied by his wife Riniki Bhuyan Sarma and daughter Sukanya Sarma exercised his franchise at Amingaon in Barpeta Lok Sabha seat.

People used all modes of transport, including boats, to reach the polling stations across Guwahati, Barpeta, Dhubri and Kokrajhar constituencies to exercise their democratic franchise amid rain.

Over 1,300 candidates, including around 120 women, are in the fray in the third phase.

Voting was completed in 189 seats out of 543 seats in the first two phases. The next four phases will be on May 13, May 20, May 25 and June 1. The counting of votes is on June 4.

Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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