Despite heatwave, Phase I of Lok Sabha polls registers 63.89% polling

Incidents of violence were reported from Manipur, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh; Lakshadweep saw the highest voter turnout at 83.88% and Bihar the lowest at 48.88%, according to EC

Updated - April 20, 2024 07:32 am IST

Published - April 19, 2024 10:34 pm IST - New Delhi:

People lined up at a polling booth waiting to cast their vote at Government High School, Manali during the Lok Sabha elections, in Chennai on April 19, 2024

People lined up at a polling booth waiting to cast their vote at Government High School, Manali during the Lok Sabha elections, in Chennai on April 19, 2024 | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

The voter turnout in the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls on April 19, which sealed the fate of candidates in 102 constituencies across 21 States, was 63.89%.

The voting percentage is likely to go upwards when reports from all polling stations are obtained, the Election Commission of India (ECI) said in a statement. The poll body also commended the “high” voter turnout “despite the heatwave”. “Final figures will be known on Saturday after the scrutiny of Form 17A,” the release said.

Polling has been completed for 10 States and union territories in this phase, including in Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep and all most north-eastern States. Prominent leaders such as Nitin Gadkari, Kanimozhi, Gaurav Gogoi and Bhupendra Yadav were among the contestants in this phase.

The seven-phase polls would end on June 1 and counting would take place on June 4.

Among the States where the polling took place, incidents of violence were reported from Manipur, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh. Lakshadweep saw the highest voter turnout at 83.88% and Bihar the lowest at 48.88%, according to the EC.

69.46% in T.N.

Tamil Nadu, where voting took place for all 39 Lok Sabha seats, saw a turnout of 69.46%. Voters in Vengaivayal in Pudukkottai district boycotted the polls in protest against police inaction in finding the culprits behind mixing human faeces in an overhead tank supplying drinking water to Dalits, while residents of Ekanapuram in Kancheepuram district boycotted over acquiring farmland for a greenfield airport for Chennai.

Lok Sabha polls 2024 | How India voted during Phase 1

In ethnic-violence hit Manipur, the voter turnout was 72.17%. Violence was reported in areas under the Inner Manipur seat straddling the Meitei-majority Imphal Valley. Unidentified armed men fired several rounds outside a polling station at Thamnapokpi in Bishnupur district, reportedly injuring three persons.

No violence was reported from the Outer Manipur seat reserved for the Scheduled Tribes. It covers 28 of the State’s 60 Assembly segments and 15 went to polls on Friday. Polling in the remaining 13 Assembly constituencies will be held in the second phase on April 26.

A view of the model polling booth at Sharma Nagar, Vyasarpadi which is under Perambur Assembly constituency during the Lok Sabha elections on April 19, 2024.

A view of the model polling booth at Sharma Nagar, Vyasarpadi which is under Perambur Assembly constituency during the Lok Sabha elections on April 19, 2024. | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

Very few people from the Kuki community came out to vote. Kuki politicians had decided not to contest the polls.

Elections were also held for 50 of the 60 Assembly seats in Arunachal Pradesh and 32 in Sikkim. The BJP had won the remaining Arunachal Pradesh seats unopposed on March 30.

Sporadic violence

In West Bengal, voting took place in the constituencies of Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar and the turnout was a high 80.55%. The three seats in north of Bengal which voted in the first phase saw sporadic incidents of violence.

The Cooch Behar Lok Sabha seat, where the EC had deployed about 112 companies of Central armed police forces, was rife with allegations from political parties against each other. A voter sustained injuries in the eye in the Sitalkuchi area when he was coming out after exercising his franchise.

There were also reports of crude bombs being placed outside the house of BJP booth president in an attempt to threaten them. Videos aired by local television channels showed supporters of BJP and the Trinamool Congress throwing stones at some places.

In the Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency, which comprised five districts and 18 Assembly segments of Jammu and Kashmir, 68.27% turnout was recorded. This is the first Parliament polls in Jammu and Kashmir since the Centre split the erstwhile State into two union territories and scrapped 70 years of special constitutional position in 2019.

In Bihar, voting took place in four Lok Sabha seats of Gaya, Jamui, Nawada and Aurangabad with total voting percentage put at 48.88.

The crucial eight seats of western Uttar Pradesh saw a voting percentage of 60.25. The Samajwadi Party and the ruling BJP traded barbs over bogus voting.

Polling in five constituencies in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region concluded peacefully without any major untoward incident. The voter turnout averaged 61.87%.

Of the 102 seats going to the polls on Friday, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance won 43 seats and parties in the INDIA bloc 48 seats in the 2019 election.

At least 60,000 State and paramilitary personnel were deployed across Naxal-infested Bastar where a CRPF jawan was killed when a shell of an under-barrel grenade launcher (UBGL) accidentally exploded in Galgam village in Bijapur district while his team was on an area domination exercise.

In another incident, another CRPF personnel was injured when he came in contact with an IED laid by Naxals in the same district.

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