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regular-article-logo Monday, 27 May 2024

LS polls 2024: Rahul calls for 'defeating hatred', Didi says 'battle for independence'; 60% voting till 7 pm

The first phase of Lok Sabha elections is covering 102 seats across 21 states and Union territories

PTI New Delhi Published 19.04.24, 05:41 PM
People show their ID cards as they stand in a queue to cast their votes for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Jaipur

People show their ID cards as they stand in a queue to cast their votes for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Jaipur PTI

  • An aggregate 60.03 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 7 pm in phase one of the Lok Sabha polls on Friday, the Election Commission said. Officially, polling ended at 6 pm, but voters who were in the queue by that time were allowed to exercise their franchise.
  • Nearly 60 per cent polling was reported till 5 pm in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections on Friday, the Election Commission said.

An estimated 50 per cent turnout was recorded till 3 pm on Friday in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections covering 102 seats across 21 states and Union territories amid sporadic incidents of violence in West Bengal while an accidental explosion of a grenade launcher shell in Chhattisgarh left a CRPF jawan dead.

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An Election Commission spokesperson said the turnout figure of 49.78 per cent was only approximate and polling was progressing "smoothly and peacefully".

Assembly elections are also being held simultaneously in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.

Among the voters were first-timers, many newly-wed couples who came in their traditional attires, physically-challenged people and some elderly persons carried on stretchers and wheelchairs.

As polling began in the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls on Friday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi urged voters to strengthen democracy and open 'Mohabbat ki Dukaan' in every corner of the country by defeating hatred.

"Today is the first phase of voting! Remember, each and every vote of yours is going to decide the future of India's democracy and its generations," Gandhi said in a post in Hindi on 'X'.

"Go out and strengthen democracy by applying the balm of your vote on the wounds inflicted on the soul of the country in the last 10 years," he said.

Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday accused the BJP of inciting violence during Ram Navami celebrations in the state and said the saffron camp only believes in bloodshed and violence to serve its political interests.

Addressing a rally at Hariharpara in minority-dominated Murshidabad district, Banerjee said the 2024 Lok Sabha polls are nothing less than a "second battle for the country's independence," as BJP's return to power for the third consecutive term would endanger the existence of the constitution and democracy.

She claimed that Ram Navami violence in Murshidabad district was "pre-planned" and accused the saffron party of orchestrating it ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

Open 'Mohabbat Ki Dukaan' in every corner of the country by defeating hatred, the Congress leader added.

Minor EVM glitches were reported at some booths in Tamil Nadu, Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Assam.

Polling began at 7 AM and will end at 6 PM. Election officials said the turnout in West Bengal was 66.34 per cent till 3 pm and Meghalaya 62 per cent while six districts of eastern Nagaland wore a deserted look as people stayed indoors following an indefinite shutdown call by an apex body of tribal organisations to press for its demand for a separate state.

In West Bengal, polling was marred by violence in the Cooch Behar seat. TMC and BJP workers clashed with each other and lodged 80 and 39 complaints respectively related to poll violence, voter intimidation, and assault on poll agents, sources from both parties said.

In strife-torn Manipur, around 45.68 per cent polling was recorded.

An altercation broke out between locals and unidentified persons in Thongju assembly constituency under the Inner Manipur Lok Sabha seat In Chhattisgarh, 58.14 per cent voters cast their votes in the Naxal-hit Bastar Lok Sabha constituency where the CRPF jawan after the grenade accidentally went off while an officer was injured in an IED blast in another incident.

In Tamil Nadu, where polling is spread over 39 constituencies, a voting percentage of over 40 per cent was recorded.

Voting was delayed by an hour in some polling booths in the state such as the one near Tambaram due to technical glitches in the electronic voting machines.

Arunachal Pradesh saw 53 per cent of the total 8,92,694 voters exercising their franchise.Though the turnout was moderate in the morning hours due to inclement weather, it gathered momentum with weather conditions improving.

In a few polling stations in the state, polling was delayed as the electronic voting machines (EVMs) developed technical snags which were later replaced, Chief Electoral Officer Pawan Kumar Sain said.

Supporters of two candidates clashed near a polling station in the Bameng constituency in East Kameng district, Inspector General of Police (Law & Order) Chukhu Apa said, adding the situation was brought under control and polling is continuing.

Incidents of EVM damage were also reported from three polling stations in East Kameng, Kurung Kumey and Upper Subansiri districts, the police officer said.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands saw a voting percentage of 45.4 per cent.There were some minor EVM glitches but it was addressed immediately, officials said.

For the first time in the Union territory, seven members of the Shompen tribe, a particularly vulnerable tribal group of Great Nicobar Islands voted for the lone Lok Sabha seat.

Assam also reported EVM malfunctioning at three polling booths of Bihpuria in Lakhimpur, one each in Hojai, Kaliabor and Bokakhat, and one in Naharkatia of Dibrugarh, an official said.

"Most of the glitches were noticed during the mock poll, which started 90 minutes before the commencement of actual voting. Those glitches were rectified immediately. Voting started sometime late in those booths and now it is going smoothly," officials said.

The state saw a polling percentage of 60.70 per cent.

A vehicle carrying an EVM partially sank into a river after water level rose suddenly, washing away a mechanised boat that was ferrying the SUV in Lakhimpur constituency. The driver and the polling officer of the vehicle managed to get out before water gushed into the vehicle.

Around 40.92 per cent of the 75 lakh voters in four Lok Sabha constituencies of Bihar exercised their franchise till 3 pm.

Braving incessant rains, 43.11 per cent of voters exercised their choice in the first six hours of polling in Jammu and Kashmir's Udhampur parliamentary constituency.

In Rajasthan, over 41.51 per cent voting took place till 3 pm.

Uttarakhand saw over 45.62 per cent polling till 3 pm.

In Maharashtra, a voter turnout of 44.7 per cent was recorded till 3 pm while the six Lok Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh recorded a voter turnout of 53.40 per cent.

Uttar Pradesh witnessed 47.44 per cent voting, Mizoram 49, Nagaland 43.53, Puducherry 58.86 and Sikkim 52.73.

Over 16.63 crore people are eligible to vote in this phase. In the first phase, there are 35.67 lakh first time voters, besides 3.51 crore young voters in the age group of 20-29 years.

Counting of votes in the elections that will conclude on June one will be taken up on June 4.

Polling is being held for all seats of Tamil Nadu (39), Uttarakhand (5), Arunachal Pradesh (2), Meghalaya (2), Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1), Mizoram (1), Nagaland (1), Puducherry (1), Sikkim (1) and Lakshadweep (1).

Besides, voting is underway in 12 seats of Rajasthan, eight in Uttar Pradesh, six in Madhya Pradesh, five seats each in Assam and Maharashtra, four in Bihar, three in West Bengal, two in Manipur, and one seat each in Tripura, Jammu and Kashmir and Chhattisgarh.

Simultaneously, assembly elections are being held in Arunachal Pradesh (60 seats) and Sikkim (32 seats).

The Election Commission has deployed over 18 lakh polling personnel across 1.87 lakh polling stations.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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