Violence mars polling in WB, Punjab

Over 61 per cent turnout

New Delhi: Incidents of violence in West Bengal and clashes in Punjab were reported during the seventh and last phase of Lok Sabha polls on Sunday, with over 61 per cent turnout being recorded in 59 seats.
Over 8,000 candidates were in fray for 542 Lok Sabha seats across the country in the Lok Sabha elections. The last phase, which decided the fate of 918 candidates including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also saw EVM glitches and poll boycott at some booths.
Violence erupted in Chandauli Lok Sabha constituency, where state Bharatiya Janata Party chief Mahendra Nath Pandey is seeking re-election, when supporters of the saffron party and the Samajwadi Party clashed. The situation was later brought under control.
A report from Chandauli said the fingers of Dalits had been inked before they could actually cast their vote in Tara Jivanpur village under Alinagar police station. Officials said an FIR was registered in the matter.
Incidents of violence were reported in West Bengal where 73.40 per cent of over 1.49 crore electorate exercised their franchise in nine Lok Sabha seats. According to BJP’s North Kolkata candidate Rahul Sinha, a crude bomb was hurled near Girish Park in the constituency around noon. Police, however, said crackers were burst in the area, and polling was underway peacefully.
In Kolkata south, TMC candidate Mala Roy alleged that she was stopped from entering polling booths. Sporadic clashes were reported in Kolkata and its surrounding areas, with TMC workers claiming that voters were being intimidated by central forces outside booths. BJP candidate Nilanjan Roy in Diamond Harbour constituency alleged that his car was vandalized in Budge Budge area.
Similar reports also came in from Jadavpur constituency, where BJP candidate Anupam Hazra’s car came under the attack of unidentified men.
There were reports of clashes between Congress and Akali-BJP workers in Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda and Gurdaspur. At Talwandi Sabo, Akalis alleged that shots were also fired by ruling party workers.
EVM snags delayed voting at nine polling stations in Himachal Pradesh. Voting restarted after the nine faulty EVMs were replaced, a state election officer said.
A turnout of 132 per cent has been recorded in the world’s highest polling station in Lahaul and Spiti district’s Tashigang village, a district official said.
However, in Madhya Pradesh, voters listed at a booth in Agar Malwa district falling under the Dewas seat and five booths in Mandsaur seat boycotted the polling over their demands. Efforts were on to persuade voters to exercise their democratic right, an official said.
In Jharkhand, an estimated 70.97 per cent of the total 45,64,681 voters exercised their franchise in three Lok Sabha seats.
In the last phase of Lok Sabha polls, over 10.01 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise.
An average of 66.88 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the last six phases and the whole elections were spread over 38 days. Counting of votes will be taken up on May 23. (PTI)

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