Representational image. | Image Courtesy: Scroll.in
New Delhi: One death, various incidents of violence and intimidation and complaints of missing names -- this is how first phase of polling for the 17th Lok Sabha kicked off on April 11. Six phases of polling are yet to take place. This first phase covered 91 constituencies across 18 states and two Union territories with an electorate of over a million voters. Glitches in Electronic Voting Machines were also reported from several parts of India.
People in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh complained on social media about their names missing from the voters’ list.
BBC India’s Geeta Pandey tweeted about several Muslim names missing from voters’ list in Baghpat constituency Uttar Pradesh.
While final voter turnout figures were still awaited from the Election Commission. Bihar, where several villages boycotted polls in the four Lok Sabha constituencies, recorded around 53% voting amid incidents of some clashes and malfunctioning of EVMs, IANS reported.
In Maharashtra, 55.78% polling was reported in seven Lok Sabha constituencies till late evening, officials said.
In the northeastern states, Tripura, where polling was held for one seat, reported the highest turnout at 81%. West Bengal's Cooch Behar reported 81.94% polling while and Alipurduar saw 81.05% turnout, according to reports last received. The polling percentage in Meghalaya was 67,16%, Mizoram 60.82%, Nagaland 73%, Manipur 78.20%, Sikkim 75%, Assam 67.4% and Arunachal Pradesh: 58.26 %, as per reports. These, however, were not the final figures.
In Odisha, CNN-News18 reported that in Malkangiri, 15 polling booths in Chitrakonda and Mathili blocks recorded zero voting.
Sporadic violence, too, was reported from across the country.
Andhra Pradesh: Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from Andhra Pradesh, where Assembly and Lok Sabha polls are being held simultaneously. A worker from Telugu Desam Party (TDP) was reported dead after a clash broke out in Anantpur. Another incident of clash between YSR Congress and TDP workers was reported from the polling station in Jammalamadugu Mandal of Kadapa district. A YSRCP worker has suffered injury following which he was taken to a hospital.
As per Chief Election Officer of Andhra Pradesh, 362 EVMs suffered glitches.
Jammu & Kashmir: Following the killing of an RSS leader and personal security officer on April 10, inside a district, clashes were reported in Kishtwar during the funeral procession on Thursday.
Curfew remains imposed in the district. Meanwhile, J&K police detained several ‘over-ground workers’ (OGWs) for interrogation in connection to the killing.
Isolated incident of stone-pelting were reported from Palhallan village in Pattan, Baramulla. Meanwhile, train services were suspended on polling day.
Alleging intimidation, People’s Democratic Party supremo, Mehbooba Mufti, tweeted: “A voter at polling booth in Jammu was manhandled by the BSF because he refused to cast his vote for BJP. Using armed forces at polling stations to coerce people to vote for the BJP shows their desperation and hunger to usurp power by hook or crook.”
There were reports of widespread violence from various booths of Alipurduar and Cooch Behar in West Bengal. Ins pite of the demand of poll personnel by all Opposition parties of West Bengal who were expecting rigging by the ruling Trinamool Congress, the Election Commission thought it prudent to give Central forces only in selective polling centres only .
In Cooch Behar’s Dinhata and Sitai, various booths were jammed, and hundreds of voters were ousted from polling stations, said sources.
In Dinhata, a fight between TMC and BJP broke out, while in Cooch Behar’s Mathabhanga Assembly segment, the Left Front candidate, Forward Block leader Govinda Roy, was allegedly attacked by TMC workers, and his vehicle was damaged.
In Kairana, security forces fired in the air at a polling booth as some people without their identity card, tried to forcibly enter the premises to cast their votes. The incident took place at a polling booth in Rasoolpur Gujran village under Kandhala police station around 12 pm.
Eight Lok Sabha constituencies in western Uttar Pradesh recorded an average voter turnout of 63 per cent till 6.p.m, according to the chief electoral officer.