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4-min read

Phase 6 Sees 63% Turnout Amid Violence in Bengal, UP; Dip in Delhi as 1,200 Faulty VVPATs Delay Voting

Delhi's saw a dip in its turnout from 65% in 2014, despite a three-cornered contest among the BJP, Congress and AAP with several high profile candidates.

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Updated:May 13, 2019, 10:04 AM IST
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Phase 6 Sees 63% Turnout Amid Violence in Bengal, UP; Dip in Delhi as 1,200 Faulty VVPATs Delay Voting
Voters stand in queue at a polling booth during the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections in New Delhi on May 12, 2019. (PTI)

New Delhi: BJP candidate Bharati Ghosh was attacked in West Bengal and a poll officer was allegedly beaten up by an MLA of the saffron party in Uttar Pradesh during the Lok Sabha poll's sixth and penultimate phase on Sunday in which over 63 per cent turnout was recorded in 59 seats across six states and the national capital.

Elections were held in 14 seats in Uttar Pradesh, 10 seats in Haryana, eight constituencies each in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, four in Jharkhand and seven seats in Delhi where votes were cast by a number of public figures, including President Ram Nath Kovind, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

With Sunday’s polling, votes have already been cast in nearly 89 per cent of the 543 constituencies, while the last phase of voting will take place on May 19 for the remaining 59 seats.

The Election Commission (EC) said 63.48 per cent turnout was recorded across the states and Delhi, with West Bengal recording over 80 per cent polling and Delhi registering just 60 per cent. In 2014, it was 63.37 per cent, it said.

The EC said the polling percentage was recorded at 9 pm. The figure is provisional and the figure may rise, it said.

Union ministers Radha Mohan Singh, Harsh Vardhan and Maneka Gandhi, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Congress leaders Digvijay Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sheila Dikshit as also celebrity contestants Gautam Gambhir, Vijender Singh, Dinesh Lal Yadav 'Nirahua', Ravi Kishan and Hans Raj Hans were among several prominent faces in the fray.

Delhi's saw a dip in its turnout from 65 per cent in 2014, despite a three-cornered contest among the BJP, Congress and AAP with several high profile candidates, while the EC also appeared disappointed at the low polling figure even after its enhanced efforts to draw the voters to polling booths.

Glitches in EVMs were reported in Delhi, and the other places where polling took place. However, poll officials said the voting machines were replaced. More than 1,200 VVPAT machines facing glitches were also changed across the city delaying the polling process, officials from Delhi Election Commission said.

Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh said eight per cent of the VVPATs were replaced during the day which translated to a total of 450 VVPATs, 61 CUs and 77 BUs.

The maximum number of faulty VVPATs were changed in the South Delhi Lok Sabha constituency while the minimum were replaced in the Northeast segment, the CEO office said.

Officials said the VVPAT machines are extremely sensitive to light and heat and being a new technology, glitches arose which delayed voting at some places.

Compared to 84.95 per cent in 2014, this time 80.35 per cent polling was recorded in eight seats in West Bengal, where BJP's Ghatal candidate and former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh was attacked twice by local people when she tried to visit polling stations in her constituency.

Ghosh suffered minor injuries when a group of women allegedly attacked her when she tried to take a BJP agent inside a polling booth at Keshpur area, officials said.

Following this, bombs and stones were hurled towards her convoy when she was going to visit another booth at Dogachia in Keshpur. One of her security guards was injured and a vehicle was damaged, they said.

It is alleged that a TMC worker was injured in firing by Ghosh's security officers at Dugachia, following which an FIR was registered against her and her security personnel.

BJP candidate Dilip Ghosh also faces an FIR for allegedly causing law and order issues.

At least 26 people were injured in incidents of violence. Central forces also opened fire to control the situation at two places, they said.

In Uttar Pradesh, 54 per cent polling was reported in 14 constituencies. SP president Akhilesh Yadav and Maneka Gandhi are in the fray in the state that sends 80 members to Lok Sabha.

Maneka Gandhi and her rival BSP candidate Chandra Bhadra Singh had a face-off in Sultanpur, with the BJP leader warning him that hooliganism will not work. Singh dismissed her charge.

BJP MLA Dinanath Bhaskar and four others allegedly beat up a presiding officer in Badohi, accusing the official of deliberately slowing the polling process. Poll officials have sought a report on the matter.

Akhilesh is trying to retain his father and SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav's seat against Bhojpuri film star 'Nirahua' of the BJP in Azamgarh.

In Bihar, around 59.38 per cent turnout was recorded for the eight seats.

A polling officer was killed at a booth in a freak incident of firing by a home guard before polling started in Sheohar constituency.

Haryana recorded 69.50 per cent turnout in 10 Lok Sabha seats and officials said no untoward incident was reported and polling remained peaceful in the state.

However, Congress' Rohtak candidate Deepender Singh Hooda, who is seeking re-election for a fourth term, accused Haryana Minister and Rohtak MLA Manish Grover of "intimidating" voters by forcibly entering some polling booths.

Grover, however, rejected the charge claiming that Deepender, who is the son of former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, made baseless allegations in the face of "imminent defeat".

Union ministers Rao Inderjit Singh and Krishan Pal Gurjar are among the 223 candidates in fray in Haryana.

In Jharkhand, an estimated 65.17 per cent turnout was recorded for four Lok Sabha seat.Officials said no untoward incident was reported.

Madhya Pradesh, which recorded 64.01 per cent turnout, saw several heavyweights contesting the polls.Eight constituencies went to polls Sunday.

In Bhopal, Congress veteran Digvijay Singh was locked in a battle with BJP candidate and 2008 Malegaon blast accused Pragya Singh Thakur.

Scindia, who is seeking re-election from Guna seat, is locked in a battle with BJP's KP Yadav. Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, sitting MP from Gwalior, is contesting from Morena.

Over 10.17 crore people were eligible to decide the fate of 979 candidates.

(With PTI inputs)

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