Lucknow/Chandigarh/Patna/Kolkata/Ahmedabad/Srinagar: Moderate to high turnout marked the polling on Wednesday in the seventh phase of Lok Sabha elections on a day when Narendra Modi sparked a major controversy by violating the election law by making a speech and displaying BJP's poll symbol in a booth.
The fate of some of the top guns of Congress, including Sonia Gandhi, and BJP like Modi, L K Advani, Rajnath Singh and Murli Manohar Joshi and Arun Jaitley were decided in the seventh round that covered 89 constituencies across seven states and two union territories. Voter turnout was nearly 82 per cent for nine seats in West Bengal. Meanwhile, Punjab had a record 72 per cent of total 1.95 crore electors on Wednesday voted to elect 13 Lok Sabha MPs. 58 per cent voter turnout was recorded at the end of polling in seven Lok Sabha seats in Bihar.
82 per cent for nine seats in West Bengal
A voter turnout of nearly 82 percent was recorded in nine Lok Sabha seats in the third leg of the five-phase elections in West Bengal till 6 pm today. "On an average 81.35 per cent of the voters cast their votes till 6.00 pm in the nine constituencies of Howrah, Uluberia, Serampore, Hooghly, Arambagh, Burdwan (East), Burdwan-Durgapur, Bolpur and Birbhum," Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta said.
"However, there are long queues in many polling stations and the polling will continue till they are cleared. The final turnout can go up a little," Gupta said.
Barring some stray incident the election was free, fair and peaceful, the CEO said. EC's Special Observer for the state Sudhir Kumar Rakesh, however, said: "The election was free and fair, but I can't say peaceful. Better you say if it was peaceful or not."
A presiding officer and a polling officer were removed following complaints of partiality and show-cause notice and departmental proceedings were slapped against them, Gupta said. The action was taken against the presiding officer at Moigram Primary School booth under Arambagh Parliamentary constituency.
Record 72 per cent voters turnout in Punjab
A record 72 per cent of total 1.95 crore electors on Wednesday voted to elect 13 Lok Sabha MPs from Punjab where the polling was largely peaceful, barring few incidents of violence.
The voter turnout was 72 per cent, Additional Chief Electoral Officer Raminder Singh said, adding that the polling was by and large peaceful throughout the state. "No major incident was reported across the state as the polling was more or less peaceful. The poll percentage is likely to touch 73 to 74 per cent after as voters are still in queues to cast their votes," he said.
Earlier in 1967 general polls, Punjab had registered 71.13 per cent polling, the highest ever in the state. Voters turned out in large numbers to exercise their franchise amid sun beating down since morning as Punjab recorded a sizzling above 40 degrees Celsius temperature at most places.
58 per cent turnout in Bihar
Despite scorching sun, about 58 percent voter turnout was recorded at the end of polling in seven Lok Sabha seats in Bihar in the fourth phase of Lok Sabha election. It was 12 per cent more than recorded in the 2009 elections. Sixty per cent polling was recorded at Madhepura constituency where JD(U) president Sharad Yadav is contesting.
Madhubani witnessed 56 per cent, Jhanjharpur 56 per cent, Darbhanga 57 per cent, Samastipur 55 per cent, Begusarai 64 per cent and Khagaria 55 per cent at the end of polling at 6 pm, Chief Election Officer Ajay Nayak told reporters.
A bypoll is also being held in Sahebpur Kamal Assembly seat following resignation of former minister Parveen Amanullah from the Nitish Kumar Cabinet. Sixty-one per cent voting was recorded in the bypoll there.
Sharad Yadav, crickter-turned BJP leader Kiriti Azad, former Union ministers M A A Fatmi and Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav are among 94 candidates whose fates have been sealed today.
With completion of polling today, 27 seats of a total of 40 in Bihar have witnessed voting. The remaining 13 will go to poll on May 7 and May 12.
59.06 per cent voting recorded in Uttar Pradesh
Amidst minor incidents, average 59.06 per cent polling was recorded in 14 Lok Sabha seats that went to poll today in Uttar Pradesh's fourth phase, sealing fate of 233 candidates.
UP Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha told reporters here that an average 59.06 per cent polling was recorded in the fourth phase, which was 11.26 per cent higher as compared to 47.8 per cent in 2009 elections.
He said that Dhaurahra witnessed 66.6 per cent polling while Sitapur and Mishrikh recorded 66.4 and 57.74 per cent, respectively. Unnao recorded 56.37 per cent polling, Mohanlalganj 61.17 per cent, Lucknow 54.35 per cent, Rae Bareli 52.6 per cent, Kanpur 54 per cent, Jalaun 55.28 per cent, Jhansi 70.4 per cent, Hamirpur 55.6 per cent, Banda 54.47 per cent, Fatehpur 58.58 per cent and Barabanki recorded 63.9 per cent polling.
He said that during polling held between 7 am to 6 pm 59.06 per cent of the 2.46 crore electorate, including 1.12 crore women, sealed fate of 233 candidates at 25,485 polling centres. He said that in Sitapur an FIR has been lodged against SP MLA Rampal Yadav after he entered into an altercation with CRPF jawan Dharampal Singh at Nauabehad polling booth in Biswan area.
He said that in Jhansi some persons pelted stones at the vehicle of Anirrudh Sharma, son of BSP candidate Anuradha Sharma, in Raksa area after which an FIR was lodged. Sinha said that two polling staff, including a sector magistrate, died due to cardiac arrest during polling for the fourth phase in Unnao and Sitapur districts.
UP Governor B L Joshi, BSP supremo Mayawati, Congress candidate from Lucknow Rita Bahuguna Joshi, BJP president Rajnath Singh and party leader Kalraj Mishra were among those who exercised their franchise. This phase has sealed the fate of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, BJP president Rajnath Singh, Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal and former BJP president Murli Manohar Joshi, Union minister Pradeep Jain Aditya, former MP CM Uma Baharti, Union minister Jitin Prasada from Dhaurahra and chairman of National SC Commission P L Punia.
62 per cent voter turnout in Gujarat
An impressive 62 per cent turnout was registered at all 26 Lok Sabha seats of Gujarat as voters came out in large numbers braving intense heat wave to exercise their right to franchise. The voters turnout registered a sharp increase of 14 per cent as compared to 47.92 per cent of 2009.
26 per cent polling in Srinagar
About 26 per cent of 12 lakh electorate voted amid tight security and poll boycott call of separatists in Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency from where 14 candidates, including Union Minister Farooq Abdullah, are in the fray. "The tentative voter turnout for the Srinagar Parliamentary constituency is 26 per cent," Chief Electoral Officer of Jammu and Kashmir Umang Narula told reporters here. The voter turnout figures might change as last reports from some of the polling stations are yet to be received, he said.
Narula said that the voter turnout this time was marginally up from 25.55 per cent recorded in the Lok Sabha elections for this constituency in 2009. Giving the district-wise breakup of the polling, Narula said Ganderbal district recorded the highest 45.21 per cent followed by Budgam at 39.05 per cent. Srinagar district recorded a low turnout of 11.46 per cent. Among the migrant voters of the constituency, 2500 cast their votes at polling stations set up in Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi, he said. The voting in the constituency commenced at 7 am and ended at 5 pm.
Inspector General of police, Kashmir, A G Mir said the polling passed off peacefully but an incident took place at Nawakadal in downtown Srinagar after the poll staff and the security personnel had withdrawn. Two persons were reportedly injured in the incident, Mir said adding further details about the incident are being collected. However, police sources said a 24-year-old youth was killed while two other persons, including a woman, were injured when security forces allegedly opened fire to chase away stone pelting protesters.