New Delhi: The great Indian electoral tamasha rolled out on Thursday as 91 Lok Sabha constituencies in 21 states went to polls in the first phase of elections.
There were IED blasts in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh and reports of EVM glitches and multiple complaints from voters about their names not being on the electoral list.
While no average polling percentage was available for the first phase in total, the highest polling percentage of 81 per cent was registered in West Bengal where the two North Bengal constituencies of Alipurduar and Cooch Behar voted.
The lowest voter turnout — 50 per cent, was in Bihar where four seats went to the hustings.
Voter turnouts for the other states were: Arunachal Pradesh (66 per cent), Bihar (50 per cent), Lakshadweep (66 per cent), Maharashtra (56 per cent), Meghalaya (67.16 per cent), Odisha (68 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (63.69 per cent), Sikkim (69 per cent), Mizoram (60 per cent), Nagaland (78 per cent), Manipur (78.2 per cent), Tripura (81.8 per cent), Assam (68 per cent), West Bengal (81 per cent), Andaman and Nicobar Islands (70.67 per cent), Chhattisgarh (56 per cent) Telangana (60 per cent), Uttarakhand (57.85 per cent), Jammu and Kashmir (54.49 per cent).
There were widespread reports of Electronic Voting Machine malfunction, missing names from voters’ list and sporadic violence as well.
Even as the Election Commission in a press conference claimed that there were no untoward incidents, the BSP claimed that in UP police stopped Dalit voters from going to poll booths.
CPI(M) cried foul in Tripura west, claiming people were not being allowed to vote for the party. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed voter names had been deleted across the country. The Congress claimed that the Nagaland deputy chief minister voted eight times.
According to reports, there was no voting in 15 Odisha booths because of the fear of Maoists.
Addressing an election rally in Silchar, Assam, hours before voting in the first phase ended, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he sensed a “massive Modi government wave”.
Mr Modi, whose BJP became the first party to gain majority on its own in three decades, said the mood in the country can be guessed by the crowds in his rallies.
“Which way the winds are blowing, can be seen from your enthusiasm. Today voting is taking place in the first phase in some parts of the country. From what we know so far, a zabardast (massive) wave for ‘phir ek baar Modi Sarkar (Modi government again)’ is visible.” Polling for the seven-phase general elections ends on May 19 and the results will be declared on May 23. In Maharashtra, Naxals triggered an IED blast near a polling booth in Waghezari area of Gadchiroli district while voting was underway, police said. There were no casualties.
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