Lok Sabha polls: Four rounds done, three more to go to elect the next government

After elections to 96 constituencies spread across 10 states and Union Territories in the 4th phase, polling to 381 seats is completed.
Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes onlyExpress Illustrations

After elections to 96 constituencies spread across 10 states and Union Territories in the 4th phase, polling to 381 seats is over. West Bengal recorded a turnout at 75.94%, the highest among states/UTs in this phase. This newspaper takes a look...

Madhya Pradesh

Eight Lok Sabha seats on Monday clocked around 72% polling, 3.5% less than that of 2019 elections, marking the conclusion of voting for the 29 seats in Madhya Pradesh. Male voters (75.01%) outnumbered the female voters (68.45%) by more than 6.5%. In seven seats in Malwa-Nimar region, maximum 75.79% voting was reported in Khargone (ST), followed by 74.86% in Dewas (SC), 74.50% in Mandsaur, 73.03% in Ujjain (SC), 72.86% in Ratlam (ST), 71.50% in Dhar (ST) and 70.72% in Khandwa, according to turnout figures till 6 pm. Indore constituency reported lowest 60.53% voting against 69.31% in 2019. With the battle for Indore ending up as a contest between BJP MP Shankar Lalwani and NOTA (after withdrawal of papers by Congress nominee Akshay Kanti Bam), the voting percentage dropped, particularly in all five urban assembly segments. Lowest 56.54% voting was reported in Indore-3, 57.19% in Indore-5, 58.03% in Indore-2, 59.84% in Indore-1 and 61.89% in Indore-4.

Bihar

The fourth phase of polling for five Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar concluded peacefully on Monday under tight security. The overall voter turnout was 56.85% across the constituencies of Darbhanga, Ujiarpur, Samastipur (SC), Begusarai, and Munger. Begusarai recorded the highest turnout at 58.40%, followed by Samastipur at 58.10%, Darbhanga at 56.63%, Ujiarpur at 56%, and Munger at 55%. In comparison, the 2019 Lok Sabha polls saw a 59.20% voter turnout. The electoral fate of 55 candidates, including two Union Ministers—Giriraj Singh from Begusarai and Nityanand Rai from Ujiarpur—has been sealed in the EVMs. JD(U)’s former president, Rajiv Rajan Singh, also known as Lalan Singh, is contesting from Munger. The CEO’s office received 62 complaints, all of which were resolved promptly. Tragically, a polling officer named Onkar Kumar Choudhary passed away at a polling station in Munger before the mock poll began. No other untoward incidents were reported.

Jharkhand

As the polling for the first round of elections in Jharkhand concluded on Monday, Singhbhum recorded the highest voting percentage at 63.14 per cent, followed by Khunti with 65.82 per cent, Lohardaga with 62.60 per cent, and Palamu with 59.99 per cent. Interestingly, three villages – Tirilposi, Rengdahatu, and Boroi under the Singhbhm Lok Sabha seat – witnessed polling for the first time in the last 20 years. Notably, since the region was Maoist-infested for the last 20 years, the district administration in Singhbhum used to relocate the polling booths of these villages to safer zones. But, after the police launched an intensive campaign against the Maoists by setting up CRPF camps in the area, the red rebels were compelled to go on the back foot. According to the police, Singhbhum had a maximum of 524 vulnerable booths, and hence adequate deployment of security personnel was made during the polling on Monday.

Andhra pradesh

A ruling YSRCP MLA on Monday slapped a man waiting to cast his vote at a polling booth Amaravati only to receive it back himself. The MLA had hit the man who questioned him for jumping the queue. Not pleased at the MLA being slapped, his supporters vented out their anger on the man. Further, Tenali police in Guntur district registered a case under relevant sections in connection with a scuffle that broke between YSRCP MLA A Siva Kumar and a voter at Tenali in Guntur district. Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Mukesh Kumar Meena took serious note of clashes reported between ruling YSRCP and opposition parties in Tenali, Macherla and Anantapur, and directed officials to enforce house arrests wherever required, including registering cases. The TDP and YSRCP traded violence allegations against each other’s supporters and cadres at multiple locations in the state, especially in Palnadu, Kadapa and Annamayya districts

Uttar pradesh

Uttar Pradesh, politically the most crucial and population-wise the largest state of the country, recorded a voter turnout of nearly 58% during phase 4 voting across 13 Lok Sabha constituencies on Monday. The polling in this phase in 2019 was close to 58.9%. Lakhimpur Kheri, Dhaurahra, and Sitapur were among the seats with the highest turnout with 63.07%, 63.19%, and 61.17% polling, respectively. Kanpur remained at the bottom with 52.49%. Union minister Ajay Mishra Teni, whose son is an accused in the 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, is eyeing a hat-trick from Kheri. Moreover, the high-profile seat of Kannauj, from where Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav trying his luck, recorded nearly 59% polling till 5 pm. Akbarpur recorded 57.28% polling, Bahraich 57.57%, Etawah 56.19%, Farrukhabad 58.90%, Hardoi 57.51%, Misrikh 55.65%, Shahjahanpur 53.08%, and Unnao 55.32%, according to EC data. Kanpur remained at the bottom of tally with lowest turnout. The SP, a key member of the opposition INDIA bloc, has fielded candidates on 11 Lok Sabha seats in this phase, and the Congress on two seats. In the previous election, the SP-BSP-RLD grand alliance had failed to win a single seat in this phase.

Maharashtra

In the fourth phase of Maharashtra’s Lok Sabha elections, eleven seats were up for contention, with an overall voter turnout of approximately 52.63%. Nandurbar saw the highest participation at 60.60%, while Pune, a metro and IT hub, had the lowest turnout at 44%. The INDIA alliance, representing the Opposition, released several purported videos on Monday, alleging that the ruling BJP engaged in vote-buying during the Maharashtra Lok Sabha elections. Rohit Pawar, an NCP (SP) MLA, shared a series of videos on social media, accusing the ruling coalition of splurging money to secure victory against Opposition candidates in constituencies like Ahmednagar, Shirur, Beed, and Jalna.Pawar remarked, “Envelopes containing cash were offered in exchange for votes in the Ahmednagar Lok Sabha constituency. However, individuals with self-respect not only rejected the cash and associated materials but also returned them. Voting and self-respect go hand in hand.” Pawar drew attention to a video where CCTV footage from the EVM strong room in Baramati mysteriously became blurry, fueling suspicions of deliberate tampering. In response, BJP minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, whose son contested the Ahmednagar seat against NCP (SP)’s Nilesh Lanke, dismissed the accusations as unfounded.

Telangana

The Collector of Hyderabad district said on ‘X’ that a case is registered in Malakpet Police Station against BJP candidate Madhavi Latha under different sections of the IPC and the Representation of the People Act. This follows an allegation that she checked the identity of burqa-clad women voters by asking them to show their faces. In Telangana’s Kodangal, a polling officer welcomed people with roses at a wedding-themed poll station. Women-managed pink booths were seen across all constituencies. Prominent faces also stepped out to vote; former Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Telangana BJP president G Kishan Reddy, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, film actors Chiranjeevi, Allu Arjun and Junior NTR were among the prominent persons who voted. Polling was also held at the Secunderabad Cantonment assembly constituency. The bypoll was necessitated due to the death of sitting BRS MLA G Lasya Nanditha in a road accident few months ago.

Odisha

Lok Sabha and assembly elections are being held simultaneously in Odisha. Official said Dabugam assembly segment in Nabarangpur district reported the highest turnout of 71.30 per cent while only 47.90 per cent of electors cast their votes in Berhampur assembly seat in Ganjam district. Chief Electoral Officer N K Dhal said EVM glitches were detected in several places and the machines were replaced within 30 minutes. Dhal said there was brisk voting in Swabhiman Anchal, once a Maoist hotbed in Malkangiri district. The CEO said the Election Commission received reports of poll boycott from some places over local issues. A report from Ganjam district said at least two persons were injured in a clash between rival groups during polling in Chikiti assembly segment. Meanwhile, the EC suspended three polling officials and directed police to arrest two of them for ‘serious dereliction’ of duty. So far, five polling officials have been suspended for misconduct during the election.

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