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  India   Politics  14 May 2024  64% Turnout; Violence in AP, WB

64% Turnout; Violence in AP, WB

THE ASIAN AGE WITH AGENCY INPUTS | VINEETA PANDEY
Published : May 14, 2024, 1:01 am IST
Updated : May 14, 2024, 1:01 am IST

Polling took place for 95 Parliament seats spread across 10 states and Union territories and for Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha

An election official marks a voter's finger with ink at a polling station during the fourth phase of voting in India’s general election, in Hyderabad on May 13, 2024. (Photo by NOAH SEELAM / AFP)
 An election official marks a voter's finger with ink at a polling station during the fourth phase of voting in India’s general election, in Hyderabad on May 13, 2024. (Photo by NOAH SEELAM / AFP)


New Delhi: The fourth phase of the Lok Sabha elections saw a 64 per cent voter turnout marred by incidents violence in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh and intimidation in Uttar Pradesh as political parties took to the social media to air their grievances, apart from registering complaints with the Election Commission of India.

Polling on Monday took place for 95 Parliament seats spread across 10 states and Union territories and for Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

The highest polling was recorded from West Bengal, where it was 76 per cent, while the lowest was from Jammu and Kashmir (38 per cent). Bihar (57 per cent), Maharashtra (58 per cent) and Uttar Pradesh (58 per cent) too had a weak turnout, Jharkhand 65 per cent, Madhya Pradesh 69 per cent and Odisha 64 per cent.

The EC was swarmed with complaints of violence, intimidation and EVM malfunctioning. The BJP on Monday accused the ruling YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh of unleashing “unprecedented violence” to target National Democratic Alliance workers and sought the Election Commission's intervention saying police ignored the violence. In West Bengal alone, some 1,700 complaints of alleged EVM malfunction and agents being stopped from entering booths were filed. The BJP, TMC and Congress workers clashed at several places. The Election Commission, however, said the polls were peaceful across the state.

BJP candidate Dilip Ghosh was the target of violence as stones were thrown at his convoy, in the process hitting security personnel, despite a show of bonhomie and some clicks of hugging each other between Ghosh and TMC candidate Kirti Azad. “The police were just mute spectators. The TMC has let loose a reign of terror. Since morning, TMC goons have beaten up our polling agents and are not allowing polling to be free and fair,” Ghosh told reporters.

Candidate from Berhampore Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury too had complaints. “Some goons, workers of TMC are trying to capture the roads and create problems for the people. I have requested the Election Commission to disperse them but they again come and sit there. The TMC wants to reduce the voter turnout because they know that the maximum number of voters are going to vote against the TMC. They are scared, so they want to disturb the voting process. We are not going to let them capture any booth, not I am going to let TMC win in Berhampore,” Mr Chowdhury said.

There were also several videos of intimidation of voters from Uttar Pradesh. The keenly watched seats in this phase of the polls in UP include Kannauj, from where Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav is seeking re-election, and Kheri, from where Union minister Ajay Mishra Teni, whose son is an accused in the 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, is eyeing a hat-trick. A bypoll is also being held for the Dadraul Assembly constituency in Shahjahanpur district. The seat fell vacant following the death of BJP MLA Manvendra Singh on January 5. In Lakhimpur Kheri, voters turned up at polling booths to cast their votes despite rains. There were also reports of a poll boycott from some villages, including Aurangabad, in Shahjahanpur district, over the delay in the development of roads.

Village chief Virendra Verma told reporters that locals are angry due to the absence of a road in their village and that is why they have boycotted the polls.

In Odisha, chief electoral officer Nikunja Bihari Dhal suspended three polling officials and directed the police to arrest two of them for “serious dereliction of duty”.

In Jagti area in Jammu, scores of displaced Kashmiri Pandits were unable to vote due to their names missing from the electoral rolls. Even as KPs lined up across special polling stations in Jammu amid tight security, several of them had to return without casting their vote.

In Pune, the Nationalist Congress Party (Sharad Pawar) alleged wrongdoing after CCTV cameras got turned off for 45 minutes at a godown where the EVMs from the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency were stored in Maharashtra's Pune district. The election authorities, however, clarified that a cable of the cameras had to be removed for a short period during some electrical work on the premises in the morning. Baramati returning officer Kavita Dwivedi said the party's claim was investigated, and it was found that an electrician at the godown had removed a cable, which caused the display unit to be shut down. All cameras in the premises were functional, and the data was intact, she said.

Shiv Sena UBT leader Sanjay Raut alleged the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena distributed `12 crore in Nashik, Congress’s Pune candidate Ravindra Dhangekar protested inside a local police station demanding FIR against BJP for distribution of cash. NCP (SP) leader Rohit Pawar also accused BJP candidate Sujay Vikhe-Patil of giving cash for votes in Ahmednagar.

Posting a purported video of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde alighting from a helicopter in Nashik with two security personnel lugging at least two heavy bags, Raut demanded to know why the CM travelled with such bulky luggage for just a two-hour-long poll campaign trip.

NCP (SP) leader Rohit Pawar posted another supposed video showing bundles of cash lying on the road in the Ahmednagar constituency and claimed that it contained ‘prasad’ for disbursing among the voters.

Former Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik on Monday expressed surprise over the name of his wife Madhubala having been deleted from the voters list.

Meanwhile, scores of displaced Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu were unable to vote on Monday in the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections due to their names missing from the electoral rolls.

Even as KPs lined up across special polling stations in Jammu amid tight security, several of them had to return without casting their vote.

In Indore, 3,000 early voters in Indore in Madhya Pradesh on Monday were treated to free poha-jalebi by shopkeepers of the city’s renowned food street ‘56 Dukan’ as part of efforts to increase voting in the state’s commercial capital.

Polling officials were suspended in Odisha for dereliction of duty, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Nikunja Bihari Dhal said here on Monday.

 

 

Tags: 2024 lok sabha elections, eci, election violence
Location: India, Delhi