New Delhi: The Lok Sabha election began, on Thursday, with voting 91 constituencies, spread across 18 states and 2 Union territories, going to the poll in the first phase. Sporadic violence, malfunctioning of electronic voter machines and missing names from voters’ list were reported from various parts of India.
Overall, around 69 per cent of eligible voters exercised their franchise in the first phase of the world’s largest election, where a total of 900 million citizens are eligible to take part.
The Phase 1 of the election took place in the following states with number of constituencies before them:
Andaman and Nicobar Islands – 1
Andhra Pradesh – 25
Arunachal Pradesh – 2
Assam – 5
Bihar – 4
Chhattisgarh – 1
Jammu & Kashmir – 2
Lakshadweep – 1
Maharashtra – 7
Manipur – 1
Meghalaya – 2
Mizoram – 1
Nagaland – 1
Odisha – 4
Sikkim – 1
Telangana – 17
Tripura – 1
Uttar Pradesh – 8
Uttarakhand – 5
West Bengal – 2
For more details about constituencies and phases click here.
According to the Election Commission watchdog, Nagaland, Mizoram and Sikkim recorded around 78 per cent, 60 per cent and 69 per cent, respectively, while Manipur and Tripura recorded 78.2 per cent and 81.8 per cent. A total of 68 per cent voter presence was recorded in the five constituencies of Assam whereas two constituencies of West Bengal recorded 81 per cent voter presence, according to the poll body.
The reports say that about 64 per cent of voters exercised their franchise votes until 6pm in eight Lok Sabha constituencies of western Uttar Pradesh that went to polls in the first phase.
General VK Singh (retired) (Ghaziabad), Satyapal Singh (Baghpat) and Mahesh Sharma (Gautam Buddh Nagar) are the three Union ministers whose fate will be determined in the first phase of the election.
In Maharashtra, around 55.78 per cent voters casted their votes in the first phase of election. In Jammu & Kashmir, a total of 54.49 per cent was recorded by 5pm (32.29 per cent in Baramulla and 67.39 per cent in Jammu). Around 57 per cent voter presence was recorded in the Naxalite-affected Bastar Lok Sabha constituency of Chhattisgarh. This is considered to be a huge success of the Election Commission.
In Andhra Pradesh, over 73 per cent was recorded in the Phase 1 of assembly and Lok Sabha elections. The high turnout was despite reports of violence involving the ruling TDP and YSRC cadres. Reports say that at least two people were killed in the state following clashes between Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party and Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress. In Guntur, the speaker of the Andhra Pradesh assembly, Kodela Sivaprasada Rao, reported that he was attacked by YSRCP members, who accused him of urging voters at a village to vote for the TDP.
Bihar recorded lowest turnout of voters with around 53 per cent of the eligible voters exercising the franchise in the first phase. Many attributed the Chaiti Chhath Puja for the low turnout. The two constituencies that went to the poll are Nawada, from where Lok Janshakti Party is contesting after the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance fielded Chirag Paswan in the place of Giriraj Singh, the sitting BJP MP, and Aurangabad, where BJP’s Sushil Kumar Singh is seeing re-election. Giriraj Singh is contesting from Bihar’s Begusarai and his main opponent is Kanhaiya Kumar, the ex-student leader from Jawaharlal Nehru University, who is contesting on a Communist Party of India ticket.
West Bengal’s two border constituencies – Alipurduar and Cooch Behar went to the polls in the first phase. Around 81 per cent of voters exercised their franchise in the two constituencies. The Cooch Behar BJP candidate Nishit Pramanik alleged that voting was rigged in some booths. In Alipurduar, which is a reserved constituency, the BJP candidate, John Barla, the former leader of Adivasi Vikas Parishad, is on Trinamool Congress’s Dasrath Tirkey. It would be a test for the ruling BJP as it had claimed that Alipurduar would be in its kitty after this election. The Alipurduar constituency is dominated by adivasis, mostly from the tea plantations.