60% turnout in 5th phase of Lok Sabha polls

Baramulla in J&K recorded a voter turnout of 59%. It is the highest-ever polling percentage in the constituency since 1984.
A first-time voter with grandma at a polling booth in Aska, Odisha.
A first-time voter with grandma at a polling booth in Aska, Odisha.Photo | Shamim Qureshy

NEW DELHI: The fifth phase of the Lok Sabha polls on Monday registered a 60.48% voter turnout at 11 pm, slowing closing in on the 61.82% tally for the same seats in 2019. With 49 seats across eight states and Union Territories voting, the fifth phase had the fewest seats in the seven-phase elections, which began on April 19. This phase wrapped up Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra and Ladakh.

According to the Election Commission, Baramulla in J&K recorded a voter turnout of 59%. It is the highest-ever polling percentage in the constituency since 1984. Baramulla had witnessed a fierce three-cornered fight between National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah, People’s Conference President Sajad Gani Lone and jailed head of the Awami Ittehad Party (AIP) Sheikh Abdul Rashid alias Engineer Rashid. In 1984, Baramulla had recorded a turnout of 58.90%.

Ladakh, too, registered a record voter turnout of 68.47% till 8 pm. This is the first major electoral battle in the region after it was carved out of J&K and granted Union territory status in 2019. Of the 49 seats in the fifth phase, the BJP had pocketed 32 in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The most watched would be the 14 seats in Uttar Pradesh, seven in West Bengal, and 13 in Maharashtra. All eyes are on UP’s Rae Bareli and Amethi, where Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and his family loyalist K L Sharma are in the fray. Rahul was fielded in Rae Bareli after his mother Sonia Gandhi moved to the Rajya Sabha. In Amethi, Sharma is facing off against incumbent BJP MP Smriti Irani. The fifth phase is crucial for the Congress as the BJP had won 13 of the 14 seats going to polls barring Rae Bareli.

In Maharashtra, 10 seats out of 13 witnessed a pitched battle between the two factions of the Shiv Sena. Voting in five seats in Bihar, three in Jharkhand and five in Odisha were also held. West Bengal recorded a turnout of 73.14%. Key candidates include Piyush Goyal, Bharati Pawar, Rajnath Singh, and Chirag Paswan.

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