Polling for 51 Lok Sabha constituencies across seven states are underway amid reports of violence from West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir. While a grenade bomb was hurled in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district, a BJP leader in Bengal alleged that he was attacked by Trinamool Congress workers in Barrackpore. There are reports of glitches in electronic voting machines from parts of Uttar Pradesh.
Key areas going to polls
Fourteen seats in Uttar Pradesh, 12 in Rajasthan, seven each in West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh, five in Bihar and four in Jharkhand are voting today, in addition to Ladakh and Anantnag constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir. This is the first election in Ladakh division following its split from the Kashmir division earlier this year. Voting is taking place in Amethi where Congress president Rahul Gandhi and BJP’s Smriti Irani are locked in a fierce fight. Polling is underway in Congress leader Sonia Gandhi’s constituency Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh.
Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Polling schedule, results date, constituency-wise results, how to check live counting
Polling per cent as on 12 pm
The overall voting percentage till the close of polls on Monday was 62.56 per cent, as per ANI. Voter turnout in Uttar Pradesh for 14 seats at the close of polls was nearly 57.33 per cent, news agency PTI reported. Among early voters in the state capital was Home Minister Singh, BSP supremo Mayawati, Deputy CM Dinesh Sharma and DGP OP Singh.
Voter turnout for 12 Lok Sabha seats in Rajasthan was recorded at 50 per cent till 3 pm where two former Olympians, among the 134 candidates, are in the running. Amid reports of poll violence in the state, West Bengal recorded a voter turnout of 50.64% till 1 pm on Monday, an official was quoted as saying by PTI. An average 43.85 per cent turnout was recorded till 2 pm in Madhya Pradesh.
Till 11 am, an estimated 26.19 per cent voter turnout was recorded in Bihar, while Jharkhand saw 29.49 per cent of the electorate in Jharkhand cast their ballot.
In Jammu and Kashmir, officials said while polling would end at 6 pm in Ladakh Parliamentary constituency, it would end at 4 pm in Shopian and Pulwama districts as the Election Commission has curtailed the polling duration for Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency by two hours following a request from the state police.
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Grenade attack in Pulwama
Militants lobbed a grenade towards a polling station in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir but no casualties were reported. This was the first militant attack on a polling station in this Lok Sabha election in Jammu and Kashmir.
BJP demands repoll in Barrackpore
A scuffle between Barrackpore seat’s BJP candidate Arjun Singh and central forces was reported when the former TMC MLA tried to enter a booth following allegations that voters were not being allowed to exercise their franchise there, the official said. Singh who was allegedly injured during the scuffle was later seen chasing “fake voters” in Naihati area. “Our agents were not allowed inside booths. People were not allowed to vote properly and I went there to have a look. I have the right to enter booths but police stopped me and hit me,” Singh told PTI. Alleging that the police are not doing anything to stop rigging in some booths of Barrackpore seat, Singh demanded that polling be stopped and re-polling ordered. Violence was reported from Barrackpore, Bangaon, Howrah and Hooghly constituencies.
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Smriti Irani alleges booth capturing in Amethi
BJP’s Smriti Irani, who is pitted against Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, alleged booth capturing by Congress in the constituency. In a tweet to the Election Commission, Irani shared a video of a voter who was allegedly forced to press on the “hand” symbol (of the Congress), when she wanted to cast her ballot for “lotus” (BJP’s symbol).
— Chowkidar Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) May 6, 2019
Re-polling underway in five polling booths in Andhra Pradesh
Re-polling is on at five polling booths in three districts of Andhra Pradesh. The re-poll has been ordered in view of technical glitches in electronic voting machines in these polling booths. Accordingly, re-polling is being held in polling booth 94 pertaining to Narsaraopet Assembly and Lok Sabha segments, polling booth 244 of Guntur West Assembly and Lok Sabha segments in Guntur district; 247 of Yerragondapalem Assembly and Ongole Lok Sabha segments. Repolling is also being held in booth 41 of Kovur Assembly segment under Nellore Lok Sabha constituency and 197 of Sullurupeta Assembly segment under Tirupati parliamentary constituency.
The fifth phase will see voting in many high-profile seats. In Uttar Pradesh, both Rae Bareli and Amethi — constituencies which are traditional strongholds of Congress — will see a riveting contest, with the SP-BSP alliance lending their support to the party. Sitting MP and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi is seeking to defend his turf and win the Amethi seat for the fourth time. His main challenger is Union minister Smriti Irani, who brought down Rahul’s victory margin to just over a lakh in 2014.
In Rae Bareli, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi is pitted against former Congress leader Dinesh Pratap Singh, who switched to the BJP recently. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is seeking re-election from Lucknow and will be up against Shatrughan Sinha’s wife Poonam and Congress’ Pramod Krishnam.
In Jharkhand, two former chief ministers Babulal Marandi, the leader of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik), and Arjun Munda of the BJP are contesting from the Koderma and Khunti seats, respectively, while Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha is seeking re-election from Hazaribag. Former Railway minister and TMC candidate Dinesh Trivedi is fighting against BJP’s Arjun Singh and Gargi Chatterjee of CPM from Barrackpore in West Bengal. Arjun Singh, a four-time TMC MLA, had switched to BJP earlier this year.
Coming to the desert state of Rajasthan, the Jaipur Rural seat will see former Olympians Rajyavardhan Rathore (BJP) and Krishna Poonia (Congress) locking horns. In Bikaner, Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal (BJP) is facing a tough fight from his cousin and Congress candidate Madangopal Meghwal, a former IPS officer.