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LS elections third phase: Average voter turnout of over 25 per cent in first 4 hours of polling

According to the Election Commission, a voting percentage of 25.41 per cent was recorded till 11 am. The voting which started at 7 am will continue till 6 pm.

New Delhi: A voter turnout of over 25 per cent was recorded in the first four hours of polling in the third phase of Lok Sabha elections in 93 constituencies spread over 11 states and Union Territories on Tuesday amid sporadic incidents of violence in West Bengal and reports of poll boycott in some villages of Uttar Pradesh.

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According to the Election Commission, a voting percentage of 25.41 per cent was recorded till 11 am. The voting which started at 7 am will continue till 6 pm.

Maharashtra witnessed the lowest voting percentage with 18.8 per cent voters exercising their franchise till 11 am, while West Bengal recorded the highest with 32.82 per cent.

Among other states, Assam recorded 27.34 per cent polling, Bihar 24.41 per cent, Chhattisgarh 29.90 per cent, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu 24.69 per cent, Goa 30.94 per cent, Gujarat 24.35 per cent, Karnataka 24.48 per cent, Madhya Pradesh 30.21 per cent and Uttar Pradesh 26.12 per cent, the EC said.

In Uttar Pradesh’s Budaun, the villagers of Dhoranpur boycotted the polling to protest against leaders for not paying heed to their demand for a road.

District Magistrate Manoj Kumar said the issue has come to his notice and a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) has been sent to the village.

Not a single vote was also cast in three villages of Firozabad — Nagla Jawahar, Neem Kheria and Nagla Umar — as the villagers tried to draw the administration’s attention to their problems.

Sporadic incidents of violence marred the third phase of Lok Sabha polls in four constituencies in West Bengal as TMC, BJP and Congress workers clashed with each other in various parts of Murshidabad and Jangipur seats.

The TMC, the BJP, and the Congress-CPI(M) alliance lodged separate complaints related to poll violence, voter intimidation, and assaults on poll agents.

The EC received 182 complaints by 9 am, most of which were from Murshidabad and Jangipur constituencies.

In Murshidabad seat, Left-Congress combine candidate Mohammed Salim claimed that he caught hold of a “fake booth agent” in Rabinagar area of the constituency.

In Rabinagar area, Salim was greeted with “go back” slogans as he tried to enter a booth following allegations of CPI(M) booth agents being heckled by alleged TMC goons.

“The TMC has unleashed a reign of terror in the entire constituency. Strict action must be taken by the Election Commision,” Salim said.

Salim was seen shuttling from one booth to another as allegations of intimidation of voters surfaced in the area.

In Karimpur area of the seat, clashes were reported between the TMC and the CPI(M) supporters outside a few booths. Clashes were reported between the TMC and the Congress activists from Domkol area.

BJP candidate Dhanajoy Ghosh faced protests by TMC cadres in Jangipur area as he tried to enter some of the booths in the constituency.

In Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah were among the early voters. While PM Modi cast his vote at a polling booth in Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency, Shah cast his vote at a polling booth in Ahmedabad.

Polling is being held in 25 of the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat, and for bypolls in five assembly constituencies in the state.

Queues were seen at polling booths in most Lok Sabha segments in northern districts of Karnataka with voters, mostly senior citizens and morning walkers, lining up to cast their votes, with temperature expected to rise as the day progresses.

Union Minister Pralhad Joshi and Bhagwanth Khuba, and Karnataka Minister Priyank Kharge were among those who came in early to cast their votes in Karnataka.

Former chief minister B S Yediyurappa along with sons B Y Raghavendra, BJP candidate from Shimoga Lok Sabha segment and B Y Vijayendra, party’s state President — and daughters-in-law cast their vote at Shikaripura in Shivamogga district.

“Out of 28 Lok Sabha seats, according to me we (BJP) are going to win at least 25 to 26 seats. The atmosphere is very good,” Yediyurappa said after voting.

Two government officials on Lok Sabha poll duty died in Karnataka following heart attacks, sources in the Election Commission said.

In Maharashtra, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, his wife Sunetra Pawar, who is the NCP candidate from the Baramati Lok Sabha seat, and NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar were among those who cast their votes.

Sharad Pawar was welcomed with a traditional ‘aarti’ as he arrived at a polling booth in Malegaon area of Baramati constituency in Pune district.

Ajit Pawar and Sunetra Pawar cast their votes at a polling booth in Katewadi area of Baramati.

In Assam, people lined up in large numbers across four Lok Sabha constituencies to cast their vote.

People used all modes of transport, including boats, to reach the polling stations across Guwahati, Barpeta, Dhubri and Kokrajhar constituencies to exercise their democratic franchise amid rain.

Over 1,300 candidates, including around 120 women, are in the fray in the third phase. Among the bigwigs are Union ministers Shah (Gandhinagar), Jyotiraditya Scindia (Guna), Mansukh Mandaviya (Porbandar), Parshottam Rupala (Rajkot), Pralhad Joshi (Dharwad) and SP Singh Baghel (Agra).

Voting was completed in 189 seats out of 543 seats in the first two phases. The next four phases will be on May 13, May 20, May 25 and June 1. The counting of votes is on June 4.

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