Updated: May 6, 2019 9:06:34 pm
Amid reports of violence and EVM malfunctioning, the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections saw a voter turnout of 62.56% on Monday. 51 constituencies across seven states went to polls that have sealed the fate of political heavyweights including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, union minister Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani.
Fourteen seats in Uttar Pradesh, 12 in Rajasthan, seven each in West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh, five in Bihar and four in Jharkhand went to polls, 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.
The stakes are high for the ruling BJP and its allies as it had swept 40 of these seats in 2014, leaving just two for the Congress and the rest for other opposition parties such as the Trinamool Congress (seven). This is an important phase for BJP in Uttar Pradesh since it had won 12 of the 14 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress won only Rae Bareli and Amethi — the only two constituencies where the party succeeded out of the 80 seats in the state.
Till 5 PM, Jharkhand recorded 63.72% voting, West Bengal 73.97 %, Madhya Pradesh 62.60% Uttar Pradesh: 57.33%. Till 6 PM, Bihar recorded 57.86 % voter turnout, Rajasthan 63.75% Anantnag: 8.76% and Ladakh 63.76%.
The polling was marred with reports of violence from West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir. While a grenade 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 were also reports of glitches in electronic voting machines from parts of Uttar Pradesh.
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). No official complaint, however, was filed.
Phase one of the elections recorded a turnout of 69.50%, phase two 69.44%, phase three 68.40% and phase four 65.51%
The sixth phase of the Lok Sabha elections will be held on May 12 and the seventh and last phase will be held on May 19. The voting is being held in seven phases, between April 11 and May 19, involving close to 90 crore voters. The results will be declared on May 23, ten days before the term of the current House expires.
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