LS elections phase six: 63 per cent turnout in Bengal as violence mars voting again

BJP candidate in West Bengal attacked twice during penultimate phase of Lok Sabha elections as state again sees very high turnout, 80.16% this time 

Published: 13th May 2019 04:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th May 2019 09:40 AM   |  A+A-

Voters cast their votes at a polling station during the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections at Ghatal in West Midnapore district of West Bengal Sunday May 12 2019. | PTI

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Over 63 per cent voter turnout was recorded in 59 seats in six states and the capital in the sixth phase of Lok Sabha polls on Sunday. West Bengal again witnessed sporadic violence with BJP candidate Bharati Ghosh, a former IPS officer, allegedly attacked twice by goons when she visited polling stations in Ghatal constituency.

Ghosh, who was once a trusted lieutenant of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, was first attacked when she tried to take a party polling agent into an election booth.

She later took refuge inside a temple in the area as mobs pelted stones, reports said. She was then taken to a police station to protect her from the wrath of Trinamool goons. The EC has sought a report from the local district magistrate about the incidents of violence.

Meanwhile, Mamata claimed that activists of the BJP and RSS had entered Bengal sporting the uniform of security forces to influence voters.

“On the pretext of deploying central forces in Bengal, the BJP is forcefully pushing BJP and RSS activists here,” she said. She alleged that a Trinamool worker was injured in firing by central forces in charge of the security of Ghosh.

Polling was held for 14 seats in Uttar Pradesh, 10 seats in Haryana, eights constituencies each in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, seven seats in Delhi and four in Jharkhand.  

In UP’s Badohi, a BJP MLA was accused of beating up a presiding officer. A few incidents of malfunctioning of EVMs were reported from various booths, officials said.

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Some of the key candidates in the fray in this phase were Maneka Gandhi, Varun Gandhi, Gautam Gambhir, Meenakshi Lekhi and Sadhvi Pragya (all from BJP), Congress’s Digvijaya Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sheila Dikshit, and SP’s Akhilesh Yadav. 

Polling has now ended in 483 of the 543 Lok Sabha constituencies. The final phase of polling will be held on May 19 and the results for all the 543 seats will be declared together on May 23. 

The EC officials on Sunday said that voter turnout this year till Phase V was 67.4 per cent, compared to 66.06 per cent in 2014.

The poll officials added that this time people would be able to get real-time information of counting of votes on May 23 as the technology has been improved. Training of officials and capacity building are underway, they said.

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