West Bengal recorded highest voting percentage of 81%, Tripura over 80%, followed by Nagaland 78.67, Manipur at 78.20, Sikkim 74, Andaman 70.67, Assam at 68%, Meghalaya at 67%, Andhra Pradesh at 66%, Arunachal 66%, Odisha 66%, Lakshadweep at 66%, Uttar Pradesh 64%, Mizoram 61.95%, Telangana 60.57%, Uttarakhand 58, Chhattisgarh at 57%, Maharashtra at 55.78%, Jammu and Kashmir 54.49% and Bihar 50%
“ Even as the nation started the process of electing the seventeenth Lok Sabha, the first phase of voting for 91 seats in 20 States got off to an enthusiastic start with the polling averaged at 66 per cent, indicating an overall upbeat mood. One of the remarkable features of the first phase was that Naxal-affected regions such as Bastar in Chhattisgarh and Gadchiroli in Maharashtra witnessed voting with vengeance despite serious threats from the Left Wing Extremists, including IED explosions to divert poll parties on the voting day. Earlier, the Naxalites had also issued threats to cut off the fingers with voting ink marks. None of these threats seemed to work and tribals queued up in large numbers, almost mocking the Naxals and endorsing their faith in the democratic process. Some incidents of violence in a few places did mar the otherwise peaceful polling scene. At a few places, complaints also cropped up about glitches in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) as political parties raked up the issue of mismanagement on the part of the Election Commission.”
IN THE first phase of polling for the 17th Lok Sabha elections, two seats in West Bengal and one seat in Tripura witnessed over 80 per cent voter turnout till 5 pm on Thursday, an election official said. Nagaland recorded the second highest polling percentage at 78.67 per cent, followed by Manipur at 78.20 per cent, Assam at 68 per cent, Lakshadweep at 66 per cent, Meghalaya at 67 per cent, Telangana 60.57 per cent followed by others. Sporadic violence marred the polling to Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday, reportedly leaving two YSR Congress and one ruling TDP member dead as the State witnessed 66 per cent voter turnout. Incidents of EVM damage and stone pelting marked the high octane polling that saw a large number out of the over 3.97 crore eligible voters turning up braving the scorching summer heat. Polling was held on Thursday simultaneously for 175 Assembly seats featuring 2,118 candidates and 25 Lok Sabha seats having 319 contestants.
The election will decide the fate of incumbent Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and main Opposition YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy, son of late Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. Other contenders include the Congress, BJP and the Jana Sena of Pawan Kalyan, who has tied up with BSP.
(left)A CRPF personnel carries an elderly woman to a polling station
during the first phase of the general elections in Gaya, Bihar
on Thursday. (PTI)
(Right) A woman in a wheelchair comes out after casting her vote at a polling station during general election in Salna Tea Estate near Guwahati, Assam on Thursday. (AFP)
The polling was not affected in any place. The YSRC said one of its workers was attacked with sickles by the TDP men and killed in Veerapuram village under Tadipatri constituency in Anantapuramu district while another was stoned to death in Tamballapalle in Chittoor district. The TDP said its worker Sidda Bhaskar Reddy was killed by the Opposition party in Veerapuram. Five other people were injured in the violent clash in Veerapuram. In Guntakal, former MLA and contesting candidate of Jana Sena Party, Madhusudan Gupta, smashed an EVM in a fit of rage alleging that party symbols were not properly printed on the ballot unit. He also shouted at the polling personnel on duty. EVMs were also damaged in one polling station each in Kadapa, Anantapuramu, Guntur and Srikakulam districts. All the damaged EVMs were immediately replaced and polling continued.
The Hindi heartland States of Uttar Pradesh recorded poll percentage of 64 and Bihar at lowest 50 per cent. Among the eight parliamentary constituencies of Uttar Pradesh that went to poll on Thursday, the highest poll percentage was of Saharanpur at 63.76 per cent, followed by Muzaffarnagar at 60.80 per cent, Bijnor at 60.60 per cent and then others. Uttar Pradesh will see polling in all the seven phases of the Lok Sabha elections. In Bihar, the highest poll percentage was at Jamui (SC) at 53.35 per cent. Altogether 55.78 per cent voters on Thursday exercised their franchise in the first phase of polling in seven Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra, officials said. Polling began at 7 am and ended at 5 pm in all the seven seats, they said. A total of 116 candidates were in the fray in these seven seats, which were once a Congress bastion.
As many as 1,33,00,978 voters were eligible to exercise their franchise in the seven Lok Sabha seats, the officials said. The State Chief Electoral Office said Naxal-hit Gadchiroli-Chimur Lok Sabha seat witnessed an impressive 61.33 per cent voter turn-out, while 60.50 per cent electorate exercised the franchise in Bhandara-Gondiya. Chandrapur recorded 55.97 per cent polling, followed by 55.36 per cent in Wardha, 53.97 per cent in Yavatmal- Washim, 53.13 per cent in Nagpur and 51.72 per cent in Ramtek (SC) seat. Prominent candidates in these constituencies were Union Ministers and senior BJP leaders Nitin Gadkari (Nagpur) and Hansraj Ahir (Chandrapur). Glitches in EVMs were reported at some places, an official said. In the first phase of polling in Jammu and Kashmir recorded 54.49 per cent turnout. Whereas, 72.16 per cent of polling took place for the Jammu parliamentary constituency while over 35 per cent polling was witnessed for the Baramulla parliamentary constituency. The Jammu parliamentary constituency, which covers four districts, Samba witnessed the highest poll percentage (over 73 per cent) followed by Jammu, Poonch and Rajouri respectively.
At least four persons were hurt on Thursday as supporters of National Conference and Peoples Conference clashed at a polling station in Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency, officials said. The incident took place at a polling station in Sumbal area of Bandipora district, they said. Security personnel on polling duty quickly brought the situation under control, the officials said. At least 68 per cent of the voters exercised their franchise on the first phase of Lok Sabha polling in five constituencies in Assam. An estimated 66 per cent voters in Arunachal Pradesh exercised their franchise for the State Assembly and two Lok Sabha seats. Three persons were seriously injured at Pipsorang circle under Tali assembly constituency in Kurung Kumey district in a clash between supporters of two rival political parties during the polling, DGP S B K Singh said. The voter turnout in Sikkim (1 seat) was pegged at 74 per cent, Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1 seat) witnessed 70.67 per cent turnout, Telangana (17 seats) – 60.57 per cent, Uttarakhand (5 seats) - 58 per cent, Lakshadweep (1 seat) – 66 per cent, Meghalaya (2 seats) - 67 per cent. Brisk polling was recorded in Odisha with around 66 per cent of the over 60 lakh electorate casting their votes in four Lok Sabha and 28 Assembly constituencies. No untoward incident was reported from any part of the State and polling for the first of four-phase of Odisha elections was undertaken peacefully, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Surendra Kumar said.
However, there were reports of poll boycott by villagers in some places over local issues, while zero polling was recorded in some Maoist-hit areas of Malkangiri district, he said. Mizoram Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ashish Kundra on Thursday said the provisional figure on the voter turnout in the election to the lone Lok Sabha seat and by-poll to the Aizawl West-I seat was 61.95 per cent at 5 pm. He said polling was peaceful and there was no report of any violence from anywhere in the State. “Many of the polling stations were too remote and communication problem persisted even as wireless communication back-up was in place, especially in the southernmost Lawngtlai district,” he said. Kundra said those voters who had entered the polling area at five pm would be allowed to exercise franchise which would definitely increase the poll percentage.
The final poll turnout at the 15 special polling stations in Mizoram-Tripura border Kanhmun village established for 12,081 Bru voters lodged in the six relief camps in North Tripura district was 33.54 per cent and could still go up, the CEO said. Six candidates are in the fray for the Lok Sabha seat and three nominees for the Assembly by-election. Over 80 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the election to the West Tripura Lok Sabha seat on Thursday, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Suman Rakshit said. The CPI(M) and Congress alleged rigging and intimidation of voters by the BJP, a charge denied by the party. A 40-year-old home guard jawan on poll duty in Haridwar district of Uttarakhand died from cardiac arrest on Thursday, police said. Dharampal, who hailed from Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh, suffered a cardiac arrest while he was on election duty. 91 parliamentary constituencies spread over 20 States and Union Territories (UTs) went for polls on the first phase of seven phases Lok Sabha polls. Among the constituencies that went for polls in the first phase are - eight in Uttar Pradesh, five in Uttarakhand, four in Bihar, seven in Maharashtra, five in Assam, four in Odisha, two each in Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and West Bengal, and one each in Chhattisgarh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep. The results will be announced on May 23.