Another phase of elections completed. This phase sealed the fates of candidates fighting for 95 seats across 11 states. A former prime minister and four union ministers are in the fray in this phase of Lok Sabha polls. The high turnout of 66% was quite strange as this phase, just like the first phase, was marred with violence, and inaccuracies in voting mechanism.
Voting was also held in 35 Assembly constituencies in Odisha and in 18 Assembly bypolls in Tamil Nadu. In TN, polling was held in 38 of the 39 Lok Sabha seats. The election in Vellore seat was cancelled on Tuesday by the EC following recovery of cash allegedly from an associate of a DMK leader recently. Besides Tamil Nadu, polling was held in 14 seats in Karnataka, 10 in Maharashtra, eight in UP, five each in Assam, Bihar and Odisha, three each in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, two in Jammu and Kashmir and one seat each in Manipur and Puducherry.
Polling in Chhattisgarh witnessed violence with an ITBP jawan suffering minor injuries after Naxals triggered an IED blast in Rajnandgaon district.
Sporadic incidents of violence were reported in some areas of Bengal.
Voters in Uttar Dinajpur district’s Chopra under the Raiganj constituency reportedly put up a road blockade, complaining about the absence of central forces at the polling stations, the sources said. Police fired in the air and lobbed tear gas shells to control a mob, after stones were pelted at them and bombs were hurled by unknown persons in Chopra, a senior EC official in the district said. At least three persons were detained by police in this connection, he said.
Meanwhile, CPI(M) candidate from Raiganj Md Salim claimed that his car was attacked by unknown persons when he went to a polling booth at Islampur in Uttar Dinajpur.
Bihar recorded 25.6 per cent voting in five Lok Sabha seats till noon amid reports of EVM malfunctioning and poll boycott delaying start of polling in some booths. Voting was delayed due to EVM malfunctioning at a polling station at Masuria in Banka town, two polling booths under Kahalgaon assembly segment in Bhagalpur, and another two booths in Purnea.
Lok Sabha polls are being held in seven-phases for 543 seats on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19, and counting will be on May 23.