Sporadic violence, reports of EVM glitches and multiple complaints from voters about their names not being on the electoral list marred the first phase of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which kicked off Thursday across the length and breadth of the country. The over-a-month-long elections will determine whether the Narendra Modi-led NDA government will retain power amid a fragmented challenge from Congress and a number of regional players. A total of 91 Lok Sabha constituencies, spread across 18 states and two union territories, went for voting in the first leg. The results for the election, being held over seven phases, will be declared on May 23.
Which all states went for polling?
The first-phase Lok Sabha constituencies included all 25 seats in Andhra Pradesh, 17 in Telangana, five in Uttarakhand, two in Meghalaya, two in Arunachal Pradesh and lone seats in Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar, and Lakshadweep.
Besides, eight seats in Uttar Pradesh, seven in Maharashtra, five in Assam, four each in Bihar and Odisha, two each in Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal and one seat in Chhattisgarh, Tripura, Manipur were also part of the first phase. These states are having multi-phase voting.
What was the final polling percentage in each state?
According to the Election Commission, Nagaland, Mizoram and Sikkim recorded 78 per cent, 60 per cent and 69 per cent, respectively, while Manipur and Tripura registered 78.2 per cent and 81.8 per cent. A total of 68 per cent voter turnout was registered in the five constituencies of Assam whereas two constituencies of West Bengal recorded 81 per cent voter turnout, according to the poll watchdog.
About 64 per cent of voters exercised their franchise till 6 pm Thursday in eight Lok Sabha constituencies of western Uttar Pradesh that went to polls in the first phase. Three Union ministers — V K Singh (Ghaziabad), Satyapal Singh (Baghpat) and Mahesh Sharma (Gautam Buddha Nagar) — are in the fray in the first phase.
In Maharashtra, around 55.78 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the first phase of polling in seven Lok Sabha constituencies. In Jammu and Kashmir, a total of 54.49 per cent was registered up to 5 pm (32.29 per cent in Baramulla and 67.39 per cent in Jammu). Around 57 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the naxal-affected Bastar Lok Sabha constituency of Chhattisgarh.
In Andhra Pradesh, an impressive turnout of over 73 per cent was recorded in the single phase assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Andhra Pradesh amid stray violence involving the ruling TDP and YSRC cadres.
What did the Election Commission say?
The poll watchdog said incidents of EVM damage was reported—6 incidents in Andhra Pradesh, 5 in Arunachal Pradesh, 1 in Bihar, 2 in Manipur and 1 in West Bengal. An estimated Rs 2626 crore worth seizures have been made so far, it said. Seizures include Rs 607 crore cash, liquor worth Rs 198 crore, drug & narcotics worth Rs 1091 crore, precious metal worth Rs 486 crore, freebies and other items worth Rs 48 crore. It also said over 70 per cent of 70,000 MCC complaints lodged on C-VIGIL app was found to be correct.
Violence, EVM glitches, missing names, here’s what happened
Reports of sporadic violence emerged from Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh with the chiefs of several parties, including TDP’s N Chandrababu Naidu, AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal and PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti, coming forward to complain about administrative and other lapses. In Andhra Pradesh, where elections were held for 25 Lok Sabha and 175 Assembly seats, one worker from the ruling Telugu Desam Party and one from the main opposition YSR Congress were killed in a clash in a village in Tadipatri Assembly constituency in Anantapuramu district. The two parties clashed in other parts of the state as well with reports of stone throwing and allegations of attacks and vandalism coming in from Eluru city as well as from Jammalamadugu in Kadapa district and Narsaraopet constituency in Guntur district.
In Maharashtra, Naxals triggered an IED blast near a polling booth in Waghezari area of Gadchiroli district while voting was underway, police said. There were no casualties. Later in the day, two police commandos escorting a poll party were injured in an IED blast in Etapalli in the district.
In the Naxal stronghold of Chhattisgarh, four guerrillas were arrested and firearms seized from them in Bijapur district while the poll process was underway. In the early hours of the morning, Naxals detonated an IED in Narayanpur in Bastar region. No casualties were reported here too.
In Assam’s Dibrugarh district, an IED was detected in an oil pipeline passing through a tea garden. Security forces rushed to the spot to ensure there is no trouble.
In Kairana in western Uttar Pradesh, BSF personnel fired in the air at a polling booth when some people, who were not carrying their identity cards, tried to forcibly enter the premises to cast their votes, police said.
There were reports of EVM glitches and voters not being allowed to exercise their franchise
In restive Jammu and Kashmir, which was otherwise peaceful with no reports of violence, the National Conference and the PDP alleged that uniformed personnel coerced people to vote for the BJP and EVMs malfunctioned in some places with the Congress button not working during polling in Jammu’s Poonch area.
With PTI inputs