Shed ‘urban apathy’, vote in large numbers: EC

Ahead of fifth phase of polling on Monday, poll panel urges the electorate to vote with responsibility and pride; 49 seats across eight States and union territories, including Rae Bareli and Amethi, will go to polls

Updated - May 19, 2024 11:53 pm IST

Published - May 19, 2024 10:53 pm IST - New Delhi:

Polling officials collect the election materials before leaving for their respective polling station on the eve of the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha Polls at a distribution centre, at Kargil in Ladakh on Sunday.

Polling officials collect the election materials before leaving for their respective polling station on the eve of the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha Polls at a distribution centre, at Kargil in Ladakh on Sunday. | Photo Credit: ANI

On the eve of the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission (EC) on Sunday said it was geared up for the polls in 49 seats across eight States and union territories, many of them in urban areas such as Mumbai, Lucknow, Hooghly, Howrah and Thane. Voting for 35 Assembly constituencies of the Odisha Assembly will also take place simultaneously in this phase. Elections to politically important constituencies for the Congress in Uttar Pradesh such as Rae Bareli and Amethi are also to be held on Monday.

Amid warnings of heat waves in several parts of the northern States, the EC said in a statement that polling stations would have ample shade, drinking water, ramps, toilets and other basic facilities to ensure that polling took place in a comfortable and secure environment. The commission said officials had been advised to take adequate measures to manage hot weather conditions in areas where it was forecast. “Polling parties have been dispatched along with machines and materials to their respective polling stations,” the EC said.

Keeping in mind the low turnout in previous phases, the EC urged the voters to come out in greater numbers at polling stations and vote with responsibility and pride. “Until now, the Lok Sabha elections 2024 has seen the voter turnout at polling stations of about 66.95%. Around 451 million people have already voted during the first four phases of ongoing general elections,” the statement said.

‘Erase the stigma’

Elections will be held in Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Cities like Mumbai, Thane, Lucknow are also going to polls in this phase and the EC said these cities had in the past suffered from “urban apathy” in voting. “The commission specially calls upon these city dwellers to erase the stigma by turning out in higher numbers,” the statement said.

The commission said it had adopted innovative methods such as a call from cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar to voters appealing them to cast their votes. “Remaining three phases of polls will continue till June 1 with counting of votes scheduled for June 4. Polling for 23 States/union territories and 379 parliamentary constituencies was completed in a smooth and peaceful manner in the first four phases of the general elections,” the panel claimed.

“Around 9.47 lakh polling officials will welcome over 8.95 crore voters across 94,732 polling stations. Over 8.95 crore voters include 4.69 crore male; 4.26 crore female and 5,409 third gender electors,” the EC said.

There are over 7.81 lakh registered voters above 85 years, 24,792 voters above 100 years and 7.03 lakh physically challenged voters for this phase who have been provided the option to vote from the comfort of their homes. Seventeen special trains and 508 helicopter sorties have been used to ferry polling and security personnel.

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