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Polling of 59 pc. in the 5th phase

Women voters show identity cards while queuing up to cast their votes at Jagaddal in West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district on Monday.  (UNI)
Women voters show identity cards while queuing up to cast their votes at Jagaddal in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district on Monday. (UNI)

NEW DELHI, May 20: Over 59 per cent voter turnout was recorded in 49 constituencies in six states and two Union Territories on Monday in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

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There were sporadic incidents of violence in West Bengal, besides EVM glitches at some stalls in the state and neighboring Odisha and complaints of slow voting in Maharashtra.
West Bengal recorded the highest voting percentage at 73.14, while Maharashtra recorded the lowest at 53.51 per cent, with six Lok Sabha constituencies in Mumbai witnessing a voting percentage between 46 per cent and around 54 per cent. Thane recorded a voter turnout of 49.81 percent, according to the EC’s voter turnout app.
The EC had on Sunday noted the apathy of urban voters in Mumbai, Thane and Lucknow and urged people to come out and vote.
Among other states, Bihar recorded a voter turnout of 53.78 percent, Jharkhand 63.06 percent, Odisha 62.23 percent, Uttar Pradesh 57.79 percent and Ladakh 68.47 percent. According to the EC, the figures were “an approximate trend” as the data was still being collected.
According to the figures made available by the Election Commission around 10 p.m., the estimated voting percentage was 59.06.
The last four phases have recorded a total turnout of 66.95 percent. With the end of the fifth phase polls, voting has been completed in 25 states and Union Territories and in 428 constituencies out of 543 in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. There are now two remaining phases – on May 25 and June 1. The counting of votes will take place on June 4.
Scattered incidents of violence marred the polls in seven parliamentary constituencies of West Bengal where TMC and BJP workers clashed in different parts of Barrackpore, Bongaon and Arambagh seats.
Till 4.30 pm, the state CEO’s office received 1,913 complaints related to malfunctioning of the EVM and failure of poll workers to go to polling booths, among other things, an election official said.
Clashes broke out between supporters of the TMC and the BJP in Khanakul area of ​​Arambagh constituency.
In the neighboring Hooghly constituency, BJP sitting MP and party candidate Locket Chatterjee faced protests from TMC activists led by TMC MLA Ashima Patra. A large contingent of police and central forces were rushed to the spot.
Violence was also reported from various parts of the Howrah constituency.
In Howrah’s Liluah area, the BJP accused TMC workers of ‘booth jamming’, leading to clashes between groups. Central police rushed to the area and dispersed them.
In Gayeshpur area of ​​Bongaon constituency, local BJP leader Subir Biswas was reportedly beaten by TMC supporters outside a stall. He was later taken to hospital.
In Kalyani area of ​​the same constituency, Union Minister and BJP candidate Shantanu Thakur caught a person using the identity card of his rival TMC candidate Biswajit Das at a polling booth.
The person was later removed from the booth by central forces.
TMC workers also held protests in some areas following allegations that central forces were helping BJP workers ‘intimidate’ voters at some booths of Hooghly.
In Uttar Pradesh, Amethi recorded a voter turnout of 54.17 percent, Lucknow 52.03 percent, Rae Bareli 57.85 percent, Banda 59.49 percent, Barabanki 66.89 percent, Faizabad 58.96 percent and Fatehpur 56.90 percent.
According to the Election Commission, Gonda recorded 51.45 percent votes, Hamirpur 60.36 percent, Jalaun 53.44 percent, Jhansi 63.57 percent, Kaisarganj 55.47 percent, Kaushambi 52.60 percent and Mohanlalganj 62.53 percent.
The voting percentage in Lucknow East constituency was around 52.25 percent.
“There was no violence anywhere in the state. Around 250 complaints regarding slow voting and EVMs have been received by the EC,” said Navdeep Rinwa, Chief Electoral Officer of Uttar Pradesh.
Three booths in Jhansi constituency in Lalitpur district reported 100 percent polling.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is in the fray against Rae Bareli, who was earlier represented by his mother and former party president Sonia Gandhi, visited several polling booths in the constituency and posed for pictures with locals. He also interacted with Congress activists in Bachhrawan and visited a Hanuman temple in Churuva.
Defense Minister Rajnath Singh (Lucknow), Minister of State for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani (Amethi), Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Kaushal Kishor (Mohanlalganj), Minister of State for Consumer Affairs Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti (Fatehpur) and Minister of State for Defense for MSME Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma (Jalaun) is among those contesting the seats in Uttar Pradesh.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati was among the early voters in Lucknow.
“I voted and I appeal to all voters to exercise their right to vote,” she said.
In Maharashtra, Mumbai residents faced delays, slow voting process and long queues amid sultry weather conditions, with Shiv Sena (UBT) and Congress raising concerns.
Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray addressed a press conference where he accused the EC of deliberately delaying the election process at the behest of the Modi government.
However, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said he had first complained to the European Commission about the slow pace of voting in the city and alleged that Thackeray was only blaming the Modi government as the Opposition was staring at defeat.
Thackeray was preparing the ground to face the results on June 4, Fadnavis added
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray also alleged that there were many complaints from voters about facilities outside polling booths.
BJP leader Kirit Somaiya alleged that Shiv Sena (UBT) leaders Sanjay Raut and Sunil Raut were involved in “corrupt practices” outside their polling booth in Mumbai’s Bhandup.
The former MP also alleged that two activists of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) were arrested for “illegal and corrupt practices of using a fake EVM”.
However, MLA Sunil Raut, brother of Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut, dismissed the allegations saying that a dummy electronic voting machine (EVM) was kept outside the 100-metre radius of the polling booth for educational purposes.
Yet police removed it under “political pressure,” he claimed.
Politicians, sportspersons and prominent figures from the financial sector exercised their voting rights at polling booths in various parts of Mumbai and neighboring Thane.
In Odisha, some unidentified persons allegedly hacked an auto-rickshaw driver to death near Sarsara in Bargarh district. The deceased carried some voters to the polling booth. While the family members claimed it was a political killing, police say personal enmity is the reason behind the crime.
EVM glitches were also reported at some places in Odisha.
Jharkhand saw a voter turnout of 63 percent in the Lok Sabha elections.