LS elections third phase: Around 50 per cent polling till 3 pm; clashes in West Bengal

New Delhi, May 7 (PTI) A voter turnout of 50.71 per cent was recorded till 3 pm in the third phase of Lok Sabha elections in 93 constituencies spread over 11 states and Union Territories on Tuesday with sporadic incidents of violence in West Bengal.

West Bengal recorded the highest turnout at 63.11 per cent followed by Assam at 63.08 per cent, while Maharashtra witnessed the lowest at 42.63 per cent.

According to the Election Commission, a voting percentage of 50.71 was recorded till 3 PM. The voting which started at 7 am will continue till 6 pm.

A voter turnout of 47.03 per cent was recorded in 25 Lok Sabha seats of Gujarat, an Election Commission (EC) official said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah were among those who exercised their franchise the state. While PM Modi cast his vote at a polling booth in Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency, Shah voted at a polling booth in Ahmedabad.

Shah (Gandhinagar) is among the bigwigs in the fray in this phase along with Union ministers Jyotiraditya Scindia (Guna), Mansukh Mandaviya (Porbandar), Parshottam Rupala (Rajkot), Pralhad Joshi (Dharwad) and SP Singh Baghel (Agra).

In Uttar Pradesh, where several members of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family are contesting, close to 46.78 per cent polling was recorded in 10 seats.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav alleged that the BJP workers were trying to “loot booths” in Mainpuri and people from opposition parties were being detained in police stations.

Yadav cast his vote in Saifai (Etawah) in Mainpuri constituency where his wife and sitting MP Dimple Yadav is contesting.

Among other states, Assam recorded 63.08 per cent polling, Bihar 46.69 per cent, Chhattisgarh 58.19 per cent, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu 52.43 per cent, Goa 61.39 per cent, Karnataka 54.20 per cent, and Madhya Pradesh 54.09 per cent, according to the EC.

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

According to officials, Murshidabad registered the highest voter turnout with 65.40 per cent followed by Maldaha Dakshin (62.90), Jangipur (62.57), and Maldaha Uttar (61.50).

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 the Rabinagar area of the constituency. Salim faced “go back” slogans as he tried to enter a booth there 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 Commission,” Salim said.

In the 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 the Domkol area.

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

In Uttar Pradesh, Agra witnessed 43.67 per cent polling, Aonla 46.75 per cent, Budaun 45.44 per cent, Bareilly 45.96 per cent, Etah 48.93 per cent, Fatehpur Sikri 46.18 per cent, Firozabad 47.80 per cent, Hathras 44.63 per cent, Mainpuri 46.80 per cent and Sambhal 52.24 per cent

“In Mainpuri, BJP people are trying to loot booths. They are detaining opposition people in police stations,” SP chief Yadav alleged without elaborating.

He also alleged rigging of votes at some places and said, “Information is coming from some places that the government is using force. It is heard that officers have been deployed outside polling booths.”

In Budaun, the villagers of Dhoranpur boycotted the polling to protest against the alleged non-fulfilment of 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.

SP candidate Aditya Yadav in Budaun alleged that SP supporters were not being allowed to vote in some places.

“I have made a complaint in this regard with the EC observer and have given proof of police atrocities. We are only getting assurances,” he said.

SP candidate Zia-ur-Rehman Barq also alleged that a circle officer snatched voter slips from SP workers and detained them. He requested the EC to remove the officer immediately.

Queues were seen at polling booths in most Lok Sabha segments in northern districts of Karnataka.

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.

Two government officials on poll duty died in Karnataka after suffering a heart attack, 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 the 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.

Sunetra is pitted against her sister-in-law Supriya Sule, Sharad Pawar’s daughter and the sitting MP from there.

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

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma accompanied by his wife Riniki Bhuyan Sarma and daughter Sukanya Sarma exercised his franchise at Amingaon in Barpeta Lok Sabha seat.

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.

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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