Over 64 pc voting in last phase

An elderly voter showing her inked finger after casthing vote at Kullu on Sunday. (UNI)
An elderly voter showing her inked finger after casthing vote at Kullu on Sunday. (UNI)

NEW DELHI, May 19:
Voting for the marathon seven-phased Lok Sabha elections came to a close today as 64.26 per cent turnout was recorded in the last phase of polls in 59 seats, which also featured Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi.
The highest ever voter turnout for a Lok Sabha election at 66.40 per cent was recorded in 2014.
The cumulative turnout for the first six phases stood at 67.34 per cent, which is 1.21 percentage point more than the 2014 figures in corresponding seats. The Election Commission has so far not provided the overall polling percentage for all the seven phases.
For the last phase, ‘Voter Turnout’ app of the Election Commission recorded 64.26 per cent polling till 10 pm.
The election also witnessed differences within the EC with Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa writing dissent notes on the poll panel’s clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah on complaints of violation of model code of conduct.
Over 8,000 candidates were in fray for 542 Lok Sabha seats across the country this year. Polling in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore was deferred over abuse of money power.
EVM glitches and incidents of violence in West Bengal and Punjab were reported Sunday amid poll boycott at some booths. The fate of 918 candidates was decided in this phase.
Voting took place in 13 seats of Punjab and an equal number of seats in Uttar Pradesh, nine in West Bengal, eight each in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, four in Himachal Pradesh, three in Jharkhand and the lone seat Chandigarh.
In UP, 56.84 per cent voting was recorded, officials said. The turnout in Varanasi was 58.05 per cent, while Gorakhpur recorded 57.38 per cent voting, the EC said.
The highest turnout was 62.40 per cent in Maharajganj, while Ballia reported the lowest at 52.50 per cent.
Violence erupted in the Chandauli Lok Sabha constituency of UP, where state BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey is seeking reelection, when supporters of the saffron party and the Samajwadi Party clashed.
A report from Chandauli said the fingers of some Dalit voters were inked before they could actually cast their vote in Tara Jivanpur village under Alinagar police station. Officials said an FIR was registered.
There were also reports of poll boycott from certain places in Gorakhpur, Mirzapur, Varanasi and Mau.
Incidents of violence were reported in West Bengal where 73.51 per cent of over 1.49 crore electorate exercised their franchise.
According to BJP’s North Kolkata candidate Rahul Sinha, a crude bomb was hurled near the Girish Park around noon. Police, however, said these were crackers and polling was peaceful.
In Kolkata south, TMC candidate Mala Roy alleged she was stopped from entering polling booths. In Kolkata and its surrounding areas, TMC workers claimed voters were being intimidated by central forces.
BJP candidate Nilanjan Roy in Diamond Harbour constituency alleged his car was vandalized in Budge Budge area. In the Jadavpur constituency, BJP candidate Anupam Hazra’s car was allegedly attacked by unidentified men.
“Polling has by and large been peaceful in the nine seats. There have been no complaints of any violence from any of the polling booths,” a poll official said. (PTI)