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LS elections fourth phase: Over 10 per cent polling recorded in first two hours

LS elections fourth phase: Over 10 per cent polling recorded in first two hours
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New Delhi, May 13 (PTI) An approximate voter turnout of 10.35 per cent was recorded in the first two hours of polling on Monday in 96 constituencies spread over 10 states and Union Territories in the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha elections amid complaints of EVM malfunctioning in West Bengal.

Voting is also progressing in all 175 Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh and 28 legislative assembly seats of Odisha.

According to the Election Commission, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed the lowest voting percentage till 9 am with 5.07 per cent voters exercising their franchise, while West Bengal recorded the highest with 15.24 per cent,.

Among other states, Andhra Pradesh recorded 9.05 per cent, Bihar 10.18, Jharkhand 11.78, Madhya Pradesh 14.97, Maharashtra 6.45, Odisha, 9.23, Telangana, 9.51 and Uttar Pradesh 11.67 per cent.

In West Bengal, both the Trinamool Congress and the BJP have lodged complaints alleging EVM malfunctioning, agents being stopped from entering polling booths and voters being either threatened or stopped from going to cast their votes in different constituencies.

The TMC lodged around 139 complaints while the BJP over 35 till 9 AM, party sources said.

“We have received 350 complaints, of which 99 were disposed of. Our officials in the respective constituencies are looking into the others. They will be resolved quickly,” an official said.

Congress Baharampur candidate Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and his TMC rival former cricketer Yusuf Pathan said they were happy with the way polling is being conducted there.

TMC’s Krishanagar candidate Mahua Moitra said the election is being conducted peacefully and she was moving to different polling stations to keep a tab on the polling there.

Prominent among the early voters were former Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, BJP chief in Telangana G Kishan Reddy, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, popular Telugu actors Chiranjeevi, Allu Arjun, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu.

“Several voters including some senior citizens cast their votes. People, in large numbers, are coming out to vote. I am requesting the people to come and exercise their franchise for democracy and the country’s security,” Kishan Reddy told reporters after casting his vote.

Owaisi said the country is bigger than any individual and people should vote for the country.

“The country is bigger than any individual. Don’t vote for an individual and vote for the country and vote for a party,” the AIMIM leader said.

Speaking to mediapersons after casting his vote, Jagan Mohan Reddy said the people have seen the best governance during the past five years.

“You have seen the governance and if you think you have benefited from this governance then vote for that governance which would lead to a brighter future,” he told reporters.

Former Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik was among the early voters in Maharashtra’s Pune. However, the name of his wife Madhubala was found deleted from the voters list.

ACM Naik, 75, along with his wife and son Vineet, 43, went to exercise their franchise at polling booth 26 at Sapling School Baner Road in Pune on Monday morning as soon as voting began.

“While I and my son were able to vote, my 72-year-old wife’s name was found deleted from the voters list. When we brought this to the attention of the official there, he said that there was nothing he could do to help,” ACM Naik told PTI.

Polling was progressing peacefully across the country barring an instance of three TDP polling agents being allegedly kidnapped from Chittoor district. They were subsequently rescued by the Election Commission.

A total of 1,717 candidates are in the fray in the Lok Sabha seats and more than 19 lakh polling officials have been deployed at 1.92 lakh polling stations for the over 17.70 crore eligible voters, including 8.73 women, in this round of the seven-phase polls.

Polling is being held in all 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana, all 25 seats in Andhra Pradesh, 13 in Uttar Pradesh, five in Bihar, four in Jharkhand, eight in Madhya Pradesh, 11 in Maharashtra, four in Odisha, eight in West Bengal and one in Jammu and Kashmir.

Nearly 17.48 lakh electorate are eligible to vote in the election to the prestigious Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency and 24 candidates are in the fray. It is the first major election in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.

The voter turnout in the first three phases of the Lok Sabha elections was 66.14 per cent, 66.71 per cent and 65.68 per cent, respectively.

The EC believes that the heatwave conditions are one of the reasons for lower voter turnout in the last three phases as compared to the 2019 parliamentary polls.

Citing an India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast, the poll authority had said on Sunday hat “there is no significant concern regarding hot weather conditions for the polling in Phase 4.”

Keeping in mind the hot weather conditions and people’s reluctance to step out in the afternoon, the Election Commission has increased poll timing in some Telangana seats.

While the usual hours of voting are from 7 am to 6 pm, they are curtailed keeping in mind the terrain, time of sunset and security situation.

Polling for the next three phases in the country is on May 20, May 25 and June 1. The counting of votes is on June 4.


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