Lok Sabha elections: Phase 5 sees over 60% turnout, highest in Bengal with 74.6% | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Lok Sabha elections: Phase 5 sees over 60% turnout, highest in Bengal with 74.6%

By, New Delhi
May 21, 2024 07:11 AM IST

53 million people voted in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha polls, with a turnout of 60.5%. Mumbai had low turnout, while Baramulla saw highest in decades.

More than 53 million people voted on Monday in the fifth and smallest phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha polls as 49 seats across six states and two Union territories recorded a turnout of 60.5%, compared to 62.4% from five years ago. This indicated an uptick in voting in comparison to the first four phases.

Voters queue up to cast their ballots at a polling station during the fifth phase of voting in India's general election, in Thiksey of Ladakh. (AFP)
Voters queue up to cast their ballots at a polling station during the fifth phase of voting in India's general election, in Thiksey of Ladakh. (AFP)

The fifth phase – which is also the most urban of the seven phases – saw a string of high-profile seats such as Amethi, Rae Bareli and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, six constituencies in India’s financial capital Mumbai, Hajipur in Bihar, and Baramulla in Jammu & Kashmir go to the polls.

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Lok Sabha elections: Phase 5 sees over 57% voter turnout, West Bengal leads with 73% polling

In 2019, the turnout in these seats was 62.4%. To be sure, the turnout number from Monday night is likely to be revised upwards – close to if not surpassing the 2019 figure. In comparison, the turnout in the first phase was 66.14%, as against 69.4% five years ago; in the second phase was 66.71% as against 69.6% five years ago; in the third phase was 65.68% as against 65.9% five years ago; and in the fourth phase, was 69.16% as against 69.5% five years ago.

With this phase, elections are completed in 24 of India’s 36 states and Union territories. Just 114 of the 543 total Lok Sabha seats remain for the last two phases on May 26 and June 1.

West Bengal recorded the highest voter turnout (75.9%), followed by Odisha (72.8%), Ladakh (70.5%), Jharkhand (63.1%), Uttar Pradesh (57.8%), Jammu and Kashmir (58.2%), Bihar (54.9%) and Maharashtra (54.3%).

Mumbai continued to disappoint with only around half the city’s registered voters stepping out to exercise their ballot. Mumbai South recorded the lowest turnout of 47.7% and Mumbai North East recording the highest of 53.8%. A galaxy of stars, sporting heroes and industry titans, including Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar, Mukesh Ambani, Asha Bhosle, exercised their franchise. But overall turnout languished in the country’s financial capital. In 2019, turnout stood at 55.4%.

Overall in Maharashtra, where eight other seats also went to polls, the voting percentage was 54.3% as compared to 55.6% in 2019. With today’s polling, voting for all 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state that sends the second-highest number of members to the Lok Sabha came to an end.

In 14 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, the voting percentage was 57.8% as compared to 58.5% in 2019.

In Rae Bareli, where Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is contesting, 57.9% of voters participated, compared to 56.3% in 2019.

Rae Bareli is a Nehru-Gandhi family pocket borough represented by his mother Sonia Gandhi since 2004. The BJP has fielded UP minister Dinesh Pratap Singh.

In Amethi – where Union minister Smriti Irani, who defeated Rahul Gandhi in 2019, is seeking a second term and is fighting KL Sharma, an aide of the Gandhi family – the voting percentage was 54.2%. In 2019, this was 54.1%.

Lucknow, where Union defence minister Rajnath Singh is eyeing a fourth term and is up against the Samajwadi Party’s MLA from Lucknow Central, Ravidas Mehrotra, recorded a turnout of 52.0%, compared to 54.7% in 2019.

Other prominent candidates were Union ministers Piyush Goyal (Mumbai North, Maharashtra), Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti (Fatehpur, UP) and Shantanu Thakur (Bongaon, Bengal); Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) leader Chirag Paswan (Hajipur, Bihar), Shiv Sena’s Shrikant Shinde (Kalyan, Maharashtra), and BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy and RJD president Lalu Prasad’s daughter Rohini Acharya battling it out in Saran, Bihar.

Baramulla in north Kashmir saw the highest turnout in nearly four decades as it logged 58.2% voting. Long queues could be seen in villages that had stayed away from the electoral process for decades due to militancy and boycott calls.

In the neighbouring UT of Ladakh, which was carved out of J&K in 2019 after the abrogation of Article 370, the voting percentage for the lone Lok Sabha seat was 66.6%, as compared to 70.5% in 2019.

In the Faizabad Lok Sabha seat, which covers the temple town of Ayodhya, the electoral contest is mainly between incumbent BJP MP Lallu Singh, who is seeking a hat-trick, and Awadhesh Prasad, the SP MLA from Milkipur (SC) assembly constituency in Ayodhya. The turnout was 59%, compared to 59.7% in 2019.

In Kaiserganj, Karan Bhusan Singh has replaced his father and incumbent MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh as the BJP candidate after the former wrestling federation chief was accused of sexually harassing wrestlers. The turnout was 55.5%, compared to 54.3% in 2019.

Bihar saw isolated clashes between BJP and RJD workers in Saran. In neighbouring Jharkhand, where three seats went to polls, the voting percentage recorded was 63.1% as compared to 65.5% in 2019.

In West Bengal, where voting took place for seven seats in south Bengal amid high security, sporadic clashes were reported from Arambagh, Uluberia and Salkia. Arambagh in Hooghly district registered the highest turnout of 79.5%, compared to 83.4% in 2019, and Howrah and Barrackpore both registered around 70%, which were the lowest.

At Liluah in Howrah, presiding officer Goutam Manna alleged that he was assaulted BY. In Titagarh, Trinamool Congress workers stopped BJP candidate Arjun Singh from entering a polling station and staged protests. More than 50% of the polling booths in the fifth phase were declared sensitive as compared to 23% in the fourth phase.

Some high-profile leaders from Bengal in this phase were sitting MPs Kalyan Banerjee, Arjun Singh, Shantanu Thakur and Locket Chatterjee, state minister Partha Bhowmick and actor-turned-politician Rachna Banerjee.

In Odisha, an auto-rickshaw driver was allegedly stabbed to death in Bargarh when clashes broke out between BJD and BJP workers in a polling booth in Ganjam district. Police said while polling was underway at a booth in the Government Primary School in Sarsara village of Bargarh Lok Sabha constituency, the auto driver, Biswanath Mirdha, had a heated exchange during which a person identified as Manoj Mahananda stabbed him with a machete. “The murder is not related to any political violence. Both were drunk. They had an altercation which led to aggravated assault. As per the preliminary investigation, they had past enmity. We will nab the accused soon,” said Bargarh superintendent of police Prahalad Sahai Meena.

LS polls: Sporadic clashes mar polling in Bengal; 74.6% turnout recorded

In this phase were 48 seats (not accounting for the one seat in Jammu and Kashmir where delimitation was held) where the Congress had its weakest showing in 2019, winning only the Gandhi family stronghold of Rae Bareli. The BJP and its allies won 41 seats and the rest were won by either TMC or BJD.

The turnout of 69.16% in the fourth phase was highest among the four phases with voting in first three phases being 66.14%, 66.71%, and 65.68%, respectively.

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