26.63 pc voter turnout amid EVM snags, sporadic violence in Bengal

26.63 pc voter turnout amid EVM snags, sporadic violence in Bengal

Agency News

New Delhi, May 6: An estimated 26.63 per cent of 87 million electorate exercised their franchise till 1100 hrs on Monday in the fifth phase of polling in 51 constituencies spread across seven states. This phase has the highest percentage of women candidates. Till 1100 hrs, 22.88 per cent voting was recorded in UP (14 seats), 29.33 in Rajasthan (12 seats), 27.57 in Madhya Pradesh (7 seats), 33.19 in West Bengal (7 seats), 20.74 in Bihar (5 seats), 29.49 in Jharkhand (4 seats) and 6.09 in Jammu and Kashmir. However, only 1 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise in Pulwama while 1.28 per cent polling in Shopian.

Amid sporadic skirmishes and EVM glitches, polling was by and large peaceful.
Fate of 674 candidates will be sealed by 8, 75, 88,722 electorate at around 96,000 polling booths.
An estimated 6.09 per cent of the 5.33 lakh electorate has been recorded in the third and final phase of Anantnag Lok Sabha seat and Ladakh Parliamentary constituency. Only 1 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise in Pulwama while 1.28 per cent polling in Shopian.

Positive response has been received from voters in Ladakh. While Leh witnessed 20.89 per cent polling, Kargil recorded 21.14 per cent voter turnout. Several polling booths in twin district were yet to receive first voter during the first four hours of polling.  A grenade blast took place at a distance from a Polling Station (PS) while petrol bomb was hurled at another PS in Pulwama in south Kashmir, where voting was underway in the third and last phase of polling in Anantnag Parliamentary Constituency.

Clash of titans in UP
Amid malfunctioning of EVMs and VVPAT machines, an estimated 22.51 per cent of the 2.50 electorate voted in 14 seats.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati were among the early voters.

In Lucknow, more than two dozen EVMs and VVPAT were replaced leading to an hour's delay. At the Nagar Nigam polling centre in the state capital, of the five, EVMs in three booths malfunctioned. Alleging rigging, BJP candidate from Amethi and Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani said on directions of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, the polling officials were forcing the electorate to vote for the Congress. Key contestants trying their luck are senior BJP leader and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh from Lucknow, Ms Irani, Congress president Rahul Gandhi from Amethi and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi from Rae Bareli .

West Bengal
Marred by sporadic violence, particularly in Barrackpur, an estimated 33.19 per cent of 1,16,91,889 electorate exercised their franchise to decide the fate of 83 candidates in seven South Bengal Lok Sabha seats of Bangaon, Barrackpore, Howrah, Uluberia, Sreerampur, Hooghly and Arambag. While Hooghly accounted for 33.55 per cent so far, Sreerampur registered 36.84, Arambag 34.98, Howrah 31.45, Uluberia 36.07, Bongaon 31.38 and Barrackpore 30.03 per cent votes.

The Election Commission has sought a report on alleged violence at Mohanpur booth (241) under Barrackpur Lok Sabha constituency, where BJP candidate Arjun Singh sustained minor injuries in a scuffle. A woman alleged that her son was threatened for life by the TMC workers. Tension also ran high at Barrackpore and Kakinara where unidentified miscreants hurled bombs. Reports of tension among the voters poured in from Gaighata under Bongaon LS seat where BJP supporters allegedly attacked a house of TMC activist at Kharermath and a bike was torched. However, the BJP denied it.

Reports of malfunctioning of EVMs poured in from several booths under Sreerampur Lok Sabha constituency. Hooghly BJP candidate Locket Chatterjee alleged that the Trinamool activists have prevented her party agent from entering a booth at Mallickpur. About 660 companies of Central Armed Forces have been deployed in seven seats spreading three districts of South Bengal.

Madhya Pradesh
An estimated 27.57 voters exercised their franchise peacefully amid tight security and under an unforgiving sun in Madhya Pradesh’s Tikamgarh, Damoh, Khajuraho, Satna, Rewa, Hoshangabad and Betul parliamentary constituencies that comprise the state’s second phase. The area-wise percentages are Tikamgarh 14, Damoh 22, Khajuraho 15, Satna 14, Rewa 13, Hoshangabad 20 and Betul 18.

Home Guard Constable Mahesh Dubey died on duty in Betul district headquarters. Residents in Newralondu Raiyat village – having 430 voters – boycotted the democratic process in order to register a protest against water scarcity.

An average voter turnout of 29.49 per cent has been recorded in the four Lok Sabha seats of Jharkhand-- Koderma, Ranchi, Khunti (ST) and Hazaribagh. Constituency-wise Koderma has recorded average voter turnout of 30.80 per cent, Ranchi 30.05 per cent, Khunti 27.21 per cent and Hazaribagh 29.05 per cent.

He said barring a few places, EVM malfunctioning has not been reported and by and large polling was going on smoothly. He also urged the people to come out and vote in large numbers.

An estimated 20.74 electorate exercised their franchise in Bihar in five seats where nearly 87.66 lakh voters would exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 82 candidates, including former union ministers Rajeev Pratap Rudy and Shakeel Ahamad.
Reports of brief EVM snags were received from few booths in different constituencies.  A miscreant damaged the ballot unit of EVM at booth number 131 under Sonpur assembly segment in Saran Lok Sabha constituency.

An estimated 30 per cent voters of the 2.30 crore electorate cast votes in Rajasthan amid tight security arrangements. As per reports, 31.25 per cent voter turnout was registered in Sriganganagar, 28.57 in Bikaner, 29.92 in Churu, 28.25 in Jhunjhunun, 30.29 in Sikar, 29.49 in Jaipur rural, 29.36 in Jaipur urban, 30.01 in Alwar, 29.22 in Bharatpur, 27.48 in Karauli-Dholpur, 29.98 in Dausa and 30.34 people exercised their franchise in Nagaur.

Voting was reported to be more or less peaceful in the desert state barring incidents of poll boycott in Dholpur and Karauli and malfunctioning of EVMS in certain places. With the end of this phase, the electoral process for 425 seats will be completed, leaving 118 seats for sixth and seventh phase poll. (UNI)