New Delhi, May 12 (GCCurrentAffairs) Around 22 per cent of a 10.17 crore electors on Sunday exercised their franchise till 1100 hrs in 59 constituencies spread across six states and National Capital Territory of Delhi in the sixth and penultimate phase of Lok Sabha elections.
Braving sweltering heat, 20.65 per cent electors exercised their franchise in UP (14 seats), 18.73 per cent in Haryana (10 seats), 20.44 per cent in Bihar (8 seats) , 25.12 per cent in MP (8 seats), 32.94 per cent in West Bengal (8 seats), 13.91 per cent in Delhi (7 seats) and 31.25 in Jharkhand (4 seats).
Sporadic skirmishes were reported from West Bengal. In Uttar Pradesh, minor clashes were reported between BJP and BSP workers in Jaunpur and Sultanpur and EVM malfunctioning in several places.
Union minister and BJP candidate from Uttar Pradesh’s Sultanpur Maneka Gandhi alleged that BSP candidate Sonu Singh, who was accompanied by a history-sheeter, was threatening voters.
In West Bengal, BJP’s Ghatal candidate and former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh was heckled when she tried to enter a polling booth in Keshpur.
A BJP worker was found dead in tribal-dominated Jhargram. The party blamed the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress for the worker’s death. However, the AITC denied any link even as BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya alleged that Trinamool workers entered his home and killed him. Tension was running high in the area after the incident.
Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh is witnessing Malegaon blast accused Pragya Singh Thakur taking on two-term chief minister Digvijaya Singh.
An estimated 32.94 per cent of 1.33 crore electorate exercised their franchise to decide the fate of 83 candidates in election to eight Lok Sabha seats of Tamluk, Kanthi, Ghatal, Jhargram, Medinipur, Purulia, Bankura and Bishnupur.
A BJP worker was found dead in tribal-dominated Jhargram. The party blamed the state’s ruling AITC for the worker’s death. However, the Trinamool Congress denied any link even as BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya alleged that Trinamool workers entered his home and killed him. Tension was running high in the area after the incident.
In Ghatal, Bharati Ghosh, a former IPS officer and once a trusted lieutenant of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, was attacked by a group of people at a polling station this morning.
Ghosh was confronted by TMC’s women activists. After being heckled at polling booth she was seen crying. Ghosh alleged that her agent was not allowed to enter booth.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission was looking into an allegation against Ms Ghosh that she entered the booth with mobile camera.
Amid minor clashes between BJP and BSP workers in Jaunpur and Sultanpur and EVM malfunctioning in several places, 20.65 per cent of 2.57 crore electorate, cast their vote in 14 Lok Sabha (LS) seats in Poorvanchal region.
Near booth number 369 in Shahganj area of Jaunpur LS seat, the dispute started when the police allegedly beat up a BJP supporter after he objected to a policeman order for cleaning his shoe with BJP flag. Later, the BJP workers ‘attacked the police and stones were also pelted on them’.
A report from Sultanpur said that BJP candidate and Union minister Maneka Gandhi got into an argument with the BSP candidate Sonu Singh outside a booth. Ms Gandhi alleged that the voters were being threatened by the BSP candidate who was accompanied by a history-sheeter.
However, Sonu Singh denied the charges saying it was his own village and people are supporting him.
In a separate incident in Bahurava village under Baldirai of Sultanpur, clashes broke out between BJP and BSP workers forcing the police to resort to ‘mild lathicharge’ to disperse the mob at around 0800 hrs.
Another report from Pratapgarh said that the district authorities have detained eight political leaders, including senior Congress leader Pramod Tiwari, in his house till the end of polling to ensure free and fair polls.
Reports of the delay in voting also came from a couple of booths in Mungrabadshahpur Assembly segment in Jaunpur Lok Sabha seat, while in Pratapgarh, around 5 EVMs were replaced.
In Phulpur LS seat, EVMs were changed at the two booths, while in Allahabad, polling was delayed in three booths due to faulty EVMs.
The fate of Union Minister Maneka Gandhi (Sultanpur), Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav (Azamgarh) and UP cabinet minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi (Allahabad) will be decided in this phase.
Bhojpuri actor Dinesh Lal Yadav, alias Nirhua, is the BJP candidate against Akhilesh Yadav from Azamgarh.
Around 13.91 per cent of the 1.43 crore electors electors exercised their franchise in the National Capital.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, former chief minister and Congress
candidate from North East parliamentary seat Sheila Dikshit, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and BJP nominee from East Delhi Gautam Gambhir were among the early birds.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, along with her husband Robert Vadra, cast their votes.
Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Anil Baijal, with his family, also exercised their adult franchise in the National Capital and also urged Delhiites to come and vote.
The star-studded line-up of contestants include three-time Delhi Chief Minister and Congress leader Sheila Dikshit and old Congress war horse and four-time Lok Sabha MP Jai Prakash Aggarwal, BJP leader and Union Minister Harsh Vardhan, Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari, seasoned Congress leader and former Union Minister Ajay Maken, BJP MPs Meenakshi Lekhi and Ramesh Bidhuri.
An average voter turnout of 31.25 per cent was recorded in four Lok Sabha seats of Jharkhand.
Constituency-wise, Giridih witnessed a voter turnout of 13.94 per cent, Dhanbad 12.08 per cent, Jamshedpur 17.89 per cent and Singhbhum 15.15 per cent.
An estimated 25.12 per cent polling percentage was recorded in Bhopal, Guna, Morena, Vidisha, Sagar, Bhind, Gwalior and Rajgarh parliamentary constituencies of Madhya Pradesh.
Around 1.04 crore electorate are likely to seal the fate of 138 candidates.
The state capital is the cynosure of all eyes as it is witnessing saffron-clad first-timer Pragya Singh Thakur (BJP) on a high-profile collision course with Rajya Sabha Member and erstwhile chief minister Digvijaya Singh (Congress); Mr KP Yadav (BJP) is trying his fortune against four-time MP Jyotiraditya Scindia (Cong) in Guna.
At least 20.44 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the eight constituencies of Bihar with Vaishali constituency recording highest of 20 per cent voter turnout, followed by 16.90 per cent in Maharajganj, 16.40 per cent each in Gopalganj and East Champaran, 15.70 per cent in Sheohar, 15 per cent in Siwan, 13.07 per cent in Valmikinagar and 13.01 per cent in West Champaran constituency.
Sources said reports of EVMs snags were received from few booths in different constituencies but polling resumed after problems were sorted out. No major incident of violence has been reported so far.
An estimated, 18.73 per cent of the 1,80 crore electorate exercised their franchise.
Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and were among the early birds.
Other prominent personalities, who exercised their votes, were Union Minister and BJP candidate Krishan Pal Gujjar, Union Minister Birender Siungh, Haryana Minister Kavita Jain and her husband Rajeev Jain, Assembly Speaker Kanwar Pal Gujjar and Haryana cabinet minister Rao Narbir Singh.
Senior Congress leader and MLA Kiran Chaudhary and her daughter and Congress candidate from Bhiwani-Mahendragarh Lok Sabha seat Shruti Chaudhary and Haryana Congress chief Dr Ashok Tanwar also exercised their franchise.