LS polls phase 6: 59.06% turnout; highest in WB, lowest in J&K

In the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha elections on Saturday, an estimated voter turnout of 59.06 per cent was recorded in 58 constituencies in six states and two Union Territories, with the voting percentage in West Bengal’s Jangal Mahal region standing at 78.19.

Incidents of minor clashes and protests were reported from West Bengal, while in some places, including Delhi, there were instances of EVM malfunctioning.

Jharkhand recorded a voter turnout of 62.74 percent, Uttar Pradesh 54.03 percent, Bihar 53.30 percent, Jammu and Kashmir 52.28 percent, Haryana 58.37 percent, Odisha 60.07 and Delhi 54.48 percent, according to the figures released by the election commission. EC) from 7.45 pm.

The EC said the voting percentage in Anantnag-Rajouri seat in Jammu and Kashmir is the highest in many decades.

With this phase completed, elections have now been completed for 486 seats in 28 states and Union Territories. The last of the seven phases of elections is scheduled for June 1 and the counting of votes will take place on June 4.

With large parts of India sweltering under a heatwave, arrangements were made for cold water, coolers, fans and tents at several polling stations. Wheelchairs were also kept to support older voters.

The EC had directed election officials and state mechanisms to take adequate measures to control the adverse impact of hot weather.

More than 11.13 crore voters – 5.84 crore men, 5.29 crore women and 5,120 third gender – were eligible to exercise their franchise in this phase. The Election Commission (EC) has deployed around 11.4 lakh polling agents in 1.14 lakh polling stations.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti, who is contesting from Anantnag-Rajouri seat in Jammu and Kashmir, staged a sit-in outside Bijbehara police station on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway in Anantnag district against the alleged detention of its party workers. and polling stations. She also claimed that outgoing calls on her mobile number were suspended.

Police, however, said those arrested were Overground Workers (OGWs) and the action was taken to ensure smooth conduct of the elections.

Mehbooba’s daughter and PDP leader Iltija Mufti alleged that the elections were deliberately delayed at a booth in Anantnag-Rajouri constituency, an allegation denied by the government.

In the national capital, President Droupadi Murmu, Union Ministers S Jaishankar and Hardeep Singh Puri, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi Minister Atishi and Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were among those who cast their votes.

CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat alleged that she had to wait for almost an hour to cast her vote when the battery of the EVM control unit in her polling booth “drained”. The county election official later said the battery was replaced within 15 minutes.

Besides all seven seats of Delhi, elections were held in 14 constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, all 10 seats in Haryana, eight seats each in Bihar and West Bengal, six seats in Odisha, four seats in Jharkhand and one seat in Jammu and Kashmir.

At the same time, elections were held for 42 constituencies in Odisha and Karnal Assembly bypoll in Haryana.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kejriwal and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge urged voters to exercise their right to franchise in large numbers in the penultimate phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

In Haryana, Manohar Lal Khattar, candidate for the BJP’s Karnal Lok Sabha seat, and Chief Minister Nayab Singh Saini, who is contesting the Karnal Assembly bypoll, were among the first to cast their votes at their respective booths.

Saini, accompanied by his family members, cast his vote at his native village Mirjapur Majra in Ambala’s Naraingarh district. Khattar exercised his right to vote at a polling booth in Karnal’s Prem Nagar.

In West Bengal, voting took place in the Jangal Mahal tribal belt, which covers five districts. The region, a hotspot for identity politics, sends eight representatives to Lok Sabha from the seats of Tamluk, Kanthi, Ghatal, Jhargram, Medinipur, Purulia, Bankura and Bishnupur. Of the eight seats, the BJP won five and TMC won three in the 2019 polls.

Minor clashes broke out between supporters of the ruling TMC and BJP in Ghatal constituency over stopping poll workers from entering the polling booths.

In Midnapore constituency, BJP candidate Agnimitra Paul faced ‘go back’ slogans from TMC activists. A scuffle then broke out between BJP and TMC activists following which central forces reached the spot to disperse the crowd.

A group of people shouted slogans against BJP candidate and former Calcutta High Court judge Abhijit Gangopadhyay as he reached the polling booth in Tamluk.

In Uttar Pradesh, polling was held for the seats of Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Phulpur, Allahabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Shrawasti, Domariyaganj, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Lalganj, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Machhlishahr and Bhadohi.

About 82.16 lakh voters, including 40.09 lakh women, were eligible to exercise their franchise in Giridih, Dhanbad, Ranchi and Jamshedpur constituencies of Jharkhand.

In a bid to increase voting percentage in Ranchi’s urban booths, the district administration tied up with a bike taxi aggregator to provide free pick-up and drop-off facilities to voters.

In Bihar, 86 candidates are contesting in the eight seats of Valmiki Nagar, Pashchim Champaran, Purbi Champaran, Sheohar, Siwan, Gopalganj, Maharajganj and Vaishali.

Officials said 107 people were arrested or detained in the state for causing disruptions and attempting to impede the voting process. Security forces seized Rs 2.86 crore in cash and 3.53 lakh liters of liquor worth Rs 9.46 crore from various locations within the eight-seater area during the day.