Lok Sabha Elections 2024 Phase 5: Over 60% of polls in the fifth phase of general polls; Baramulla records highest ever turnout

Lok Sabha Elections 2024 Phase 5 (Photo Credit: ANI)

New Delhi, May 20: In the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections, 49 constituencies in six states and two Union Territories recorded a voter turnout of over 60 percent on Monday, with Baramulla in Jammu and Kashmir recording the highest ever voting percentage. There were scattered incidents of violence in West Bengal, besides EVM glitches at some polling booths in the state and complaints of slow voting in Maharashtra.

West Bengal recorded the highest voting percentage at 76.05, while Maharashtra recorded the lowest at 54.33 per cent, with six Lok Sabha constituencies in Mumbai witnessing a voting percentage between 47 per cent and around 55 per cent. Thane recorded a turnout of 49.81 percent at midnight, according to the EC’s voter turnout app. Lok Sabha Elections 2024 Phase 5: 56.68% voter turnout recorded till 5:00 PM, West Bengal leading with 73%; View the voting percentage of all states here.

The EC had on Monday said that parliamentary constituencies in several urban cities such as Mumbai, Thane, Nashik and Lucknow continued the trend of urban apathy as noticed in the 2019 general elections. The Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency of Jammu and Kashmir, which was once ravaged by armed forces, recorded the highest ever voter turnout at 59 percent on Monday, JK Chief Electoral Officer PK Pole said.

The Sopore assembly segment of the parliamentary constituency witnessed a healthy turnout of 44 per cent after recording single-digit poll percentages for the past few decades.

“The Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency has witnessed record voter turnout since the Assembly elections were first held here in 1967,” Pole told reporters at the end of polling. The previous highest voter turnout in the Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency was recorded in 1984 at 58.90 percent. Former JK Prime Minister Omar Abdullah is among the 22 candidates contesting for the seat. Maharashtra Lok Sabha election 2024 Phase 5: 49.15% polls recorded in the state; Slow voting in fast-paced Mumbai; Stars descend on booths.

Among other states, Bihar recorded a voter turnout of 54.85 percent, Jharkhand 63.09 percent, Odisha 69.34 percent, Uttar Pradesh 57.79 percent and Ladakh 69.62 percent. The figures were “an approximate trend”, according to the EC, as the data was still being collected.

The estimated turnout in the fifth phase was 60.48 percent, according to the figures made available by the Election Commission app around midnight. 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.

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 in some booths of Hooghly. In Uttar Pradesh, Amethi recorded a voter turnout of 54.15 percent, Lucknow 52.03 percent and Rae Bareli 57.85 percent.

“There was no violence anywhere in the state. Around 250 complaints regarding slow voting and EVMs were 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. Defense Minister Singh, who is seeking a fourth term from Lucknow, cast his vote at a polling booth in Vipul Khand here and also appealed to people to vote.

Irani, who is running for re-election from Amethi, cast her vote in the constituency. Alleging that the EVM was not functioning properly at several places, the Congress accused the BJP of not allowing people to cast their votes at three booths in Bela Khara village in Rahi block. According to reports from Kaushambi, voters in Hisampur Madho village boycotted the elections. The villagers told officials that they would consider voting only after the government assured that a road and rail bridge would be built connecting the village to other areas.

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 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. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde along with his family members, including his son and sitting Kalyan MP Shrikant Shinde, voted at a booth in his political compound, Thane.

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray and Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray and their families also cast their votes. A 56-year-old election official died after suffering a heart attack at a polling booth in Mumbai’s South Lok Sabha constituency

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 and election officials said personal enmity was the reason behind the crime.

EVM disruptions were also reported in some places. Booth voting in Kantamal assembly segment under Kandhamal parliamentary constituency was stopped after some people created unrest, Odisha Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) NB Dhal said. A chairman of the same assembly segment was taken into police custody after some irregularities were detected at the polling station, Dhal said. He said polling stations at some polling booths in Bhajanagar in Ganjam district and Daringbadi in Kandhamal were affected for a short period due to power outage caused by thunderstorms and rain.

Jharkhand saw a voter turnout of 63 percent in the Lok Sabha elections. In the Gandey Assembly poll, where Kalpana Soren, wife of jailed former Prime Minister Hemant Soren, is the JMM candidate, 68.26 per cent voters exercised their franchise. Chief Electoral Officer K Ravi Kumar said seven FIRs have been registered for violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) – two each in Palamu, Latehar and Hazaribagh and one in Giridih.

Over 8.95 crore people, including 4.26 crore women and 5,409 voters of the third gender, were eligible to vote in this round and 9.47 lakh polling officers had been deployed in 94,732 polling stations. The turnout percentages in the first four phases were 66.14, 66.71, 65.68 and 69.16 percent. The poll panel said the final turnout will be available only after the results, with the counting of postal ballots and their addition to the total voting percentage.