News18 Daybreak | Lok Sabha Polls off to a Rocky Start and Other Stories to Watch Out For
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Voters queue up to vote in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections 2019.
What to Watch Out For
Elections off to a troubled start with violence, EVM glitches, missing names, ink controversy
The first day of the much-awaited Lok Sabha elections, which took place across 91 constituencies, was anything but a smooth sailing affair.
Reports of deaths, an IED blast, EVM glitches, indelible ink fading and multiple complaints of name deletions from the electoral list made for a troubled start in what is touted to be the world’s biggest elections.
The first phase constituencies included 25 seats in Andhra Pradesh, 17 in Telangana, eight in Bihar, seven in Maharashtra, two in Jammu and Kashmir and Bengal and lone seats in Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar, and Lakshadweep. Several of these states will see multi-phase voting.
Exercising one’s franchise: According to the Election Commission, Bihar saw the lowest first phase turnout, with just 50 percent. The two seats in J&K — Jammu and Baramulla — recorded 54.49 per cent voter turnout, down from 57.19 per cent in 2014.
In Mizoram, where the entire state went to polls in a single phase, recorded a dip in turnout. While last time the turnout was 61.95 per cent, this time it was 60 per cent.
Similarly in Lakshadweep, the percentage this time was 66 as compared to 86 in 2014. In Arunachal Pradesh, where both the constituencies went to polls, the turnout stood at 66 per cent as compared to 86 per cent in 2014
A flawed vote: Incidents of violence marred the polling in Andhra Pradesh as one worker each from the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the YSR Congress were reportedly killed in clashes between supporters of the rival parties in Anantapuramu district 's Tadipatri.
In J&K’s Baramulla, a class 7 student was killed in the firing by security forces in Kupwara district after a mob attacked a polling party after voting had ended.
Meanwhile, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Election Commission came at loggerheads over claims of Dalit voters being prevented from casting ballots in a booth in Uttar Pradesh's Bijnor Lok Sabha constituency.
In a statement, the party’s national general secretary SC Misra said that the voters were stopped from reaching the booths by baton-wielding Uttar Pradesh police. The Election Commission, however, dismissed these allegations as rumours since no specific polling booth was mentioned.
The EC also faced the flak over complaints by voters who said that they were able to easily wash away the “indelible” ink soon after voting. Two News18 reporters themselves removed the ink after casting their votes. The shocking revelation could render the entire process of voting moot as it essentially makes it easier for voters to cast proxy votes. The poll body has sought a report from the District Election Commission in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Buddha Nagar, where maximum of these complaints were reported.
The Electronic Voter Machines also came under criticism with reports of glitches cropping up from 18 states and two Union Territories. Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu demanded a repoll in 150 polling stations where “voting had not commenced even at 9.30 am due to the failure of EVMs.”
SC to rule on electoral bond scheme today, rejects govt's plea not to interfere till end of polls
The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce its verdict on a plea to stay operation of electoral bonds, after rejecting the Centre’s appeal to let them continue till the end of the Lok Sabha elections. The central government and the Election Commission have taken contrary stands in the Supreme Court over political funding, with the government wanting to maintain anonymity of the donors of electoral bonds and the poll panel batting for revealing the names of donors for transparency. CJI Ranjan Gogoi on Thursday had hit out at the government’s stand that electoral bonds being introduced for the elimination of black money, and called the exercise futile if transparency with regard to the donor contribution is not maintained.
What You May Have Missed
Pentagon defends India's ASAT test before powerful senate panel, says country faces 'threats' in space
The Pentagon on Thursday took a stand in India’s defence over March 27’s anti-satellite missile tests, days after NASA termed it as a “terrible thing”. " I think to all the committee looking at it, is that they did that because they are concerned about threats to their nation from space," US Strategic Command Commander General John E Hyten told members of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee. NASA had earlier called the test a "terrible thing" saying it created about 400 pieces of orbital debris, and endangered the International Space Station.
News18 Election Tracker: EC hits out at NaMo TV, Adityanath and the truth about Smriti Irani’s education qualifications
NaMo TV cannot air any political content without certification, rules election commission
The Election Commission on Thursday informed the chief electoral officer of Delhi that all content on NaMo TV, a television channel that mysteriously appeared on private DTH networks two weeks back, needs to be cleared by the poll panel's Media Certification and Monitoring Committee before being aired. The 24-hour channel has been promoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
EC issues show cause notice to Yogi Adityanath and Mayawati for violating Model Code of Conduct
After Mayawati, the Election Commission has now issued a show cause notice to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for his "Ali and Bajrang Bali" remark while addressing a rally in Meerut. His comments were in response to BSP supremo Mayawati's appeal asking Muslims to vote for the opposition alliance in the state. Finding both Adityanath and Mayawati prima facie guilty of violating the model code of conduct, the commission has directed them to respond by Friday evening.
In her poll affidavit, Union Minister Smriti Irani says she's not a graduate
Union minister Smriti Irani's educational qualifications, which had stirred a controversy five years ago, has taken a new turn this election season. Irani, who had been rubbishing Opposition's claim that she is not a graduate, accepted on Thursday that she enrolled for an undergraduate course in Delhi University but did not complete it. In her poll affidavit, Irani revealed that she undertook her exams for Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) first year from Delhi University's School of Open Learning, but "did not complete the three-year degree course".
News18 Election Lab: With first phase of polling underway, here’s what’s at stake in western Uttar Pradesh’s eight seats
Among the 91 constituencies which saw polling on Thursday, eight seats fell in the politically crucial Uttar Pradesh’s western region. All of these eight constituencies—Baghpat, Bijnor, Gautam Budhha Nagar, Ghaziabad, Kairana, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, and Saharanpur — were won by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the previous parliamentary elections amid the 2014 ‘Modi wave’. Popularly known as the Jat-belt of the state, Jats, Muslims, and Dalits form a sizeable share of the electorate on these seats in Western UP, and have the potential to influence the results.
From Jaganmohan Reddy to Nitin Gadkari, most leaders seemed confident of winning. News18 tracked down leaders who exercised their right to vote in the first phase of the polls.
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