LS Polls 2019: Average 30% polling till afternoon

LS Polls 2019: Average 30% polling till afternoon

AFP file photo for representation.

An average of over 30 per cent turnout was recorded till Sunday afternoon in 59 seats spread over UP, Haryana, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi in the sixth phase of Lok Sabha polls amid reports of an attack on a BJP candidate in West Bengal and EVM snags.

Elections are being held in 14 seats in Uttar Pradesh, 10 seats in Haryana, eights constituencies each in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, seven seats in Delhi and four in Jharkhand.

The national capital recorded a turnout of over 34 per cent till 1 pm, poll officials said.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj were among those who cast their vote in Delhi.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia, Union minister and BJP's Chandni Chowk candidate Harsh Vardhan, ex-cricketer and BJP's East Delhi candidate Gautam Gambhir, Congress's New Delhi and Northeast Delhi candidates Ajay Maken and Sheila Dikshit also cast their vote.

Polling started late at some booths while there were reports of EVM malfunctioning in different parts of Delhi.

Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain claimed that voting started 50 minutes late at three polling booths.

In West Bengal, violence was reported in some areas even as voters came out in good numbers to exercise their franchise.

Over 37 per cent of 1,33,69,749 voters exercised their franchise in the first four hours of voting.

"Polling is mostly peaceful except some incidents of disturbances from one or two places in Keshpur. We have sought reports from election officials," a senior official of the state CEO's office told PTI.

There were reports of attack on BJP's Ghatal candidate, former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh, when she tried to enter a polling booth in Keshpur.

Bombs were hurled and stones pelted at her convoy when she tried to visit another booth in Keshpur after receiving complaints of rigging there, police said.

One of her security guards was injured and a vehicle of her convoy was damaged in the stone pelting following which security officers used batons, they said.

It was also alleged that a Trinamool Congress worker was injured in firing by central force personnel accompanying the BJP candidate.

The official said, "So far we have not received reports of any firing. We are looking into it. Our officials in districts have been asked to send details of incidents of attacks on Bharati Ghosh quickly."

The CEO also sought a report after Ghosh was seen videographying inside a polling booth at Pikurda in Keshpur.

Ghosh's vehicle was again blocked by locals when she tried to enter Keshpur market area. The state police intervened and her vehicle was seized.

"Her vehicle had no valid pass to move through the area on polling day. This is a matter of security," the police officer said.

Soon after the incident, a large number of protestors gathered at the spot following which Ghosh took shelter inside a temple in Keshpur market area with her security officers.

The mob also pelted stones at policemen who used batons to disperse them. Ghosh was then taken to Keshpur police station.

BJP candidate and state party president Dilip Ghosh also faced protests from locals when he tried to visit a polling booth in his constituency, Midnapore.

In Haryana, a voter turnout of 22.87 per cent was recorded till 11 am in ten constituencies. JJP leader Digvijay Chautala, who is contesting from Sonipat, alleged that at booths number 88, 89 and 90 in Jind district, his party symbol (a pair of slippers) was "not clearly visible on EVM machines" and some voters had complained to him in this regard.

"This is a serious matter and the Election Commission must look into this," Chautala said.

Uttar Pradesh witnessed over 34 per cent polling in 14 Lok Sabha constituencies of the state till 1 pm.

In Sultanpur, Union minister Maneka Gandhi and BSP candidate Chandra Bhadra Singh alias Sonu came face-to-face at a booth.

"In Azamgarh, a presiding officer was removed following complaints of SP workers, A report has been sought from the district magistrate," UP's chief electoral officer L Venkateshwar Lu said.

He also said that there have been complaints about EVMs and VVPAT and the machines have been replaced.

Bihar saw over 20 per cent voting with 1.38 crore voters exercising their franchise in the first four hours of polling in eight Lok Sabha seats.

A polling officer was killed at a polling station in a freak incident of firing by a home guard before polling started in Sheohar Lok Sabha seat.

A few incidents of malfunctioning of Electronic Voting Machines were reported from various booths, the officials said.

"Polling has been peaceful with no untoward incidents reported from any of these constituencies so far except initial reports of EVM malfunctioning from a few places. Voting began after rectifying the technical problems," an official said.

Madhya Pradesh witnessed an average 28.01 per cent voter turnout till Sunday noon in eight Lok Sabha seats.

"During mock poll conducted before the actual voting began, 30 to 40 electronic voting machines (EVMs) were changed because of some technical problems," a poll official said.

Long queues were seen at several booths across the eight constituencies, he said.

The final phase of polls will be held for 59 seats on May 19. Results will be declared on May 23.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox