Elections 2019:Phase IV sees a tad better turnout

The fourth phase of polling for the Lok Sabha elections saw an increased turnout when compared to the previous elections, as main contenders Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress vie for 72 seats across nine states.

The tentative turnout was 64%, more than the 63.05% recorded five years ago, and is likely to go up as more data comes in.

The fourth phase marks the beginning of a direct contest between the ruling BJP and Congress. The National Democratic Alliance had swept 56 of these 72 seats in 2014.

The fourth phase is crucial as 13 seats in Rajasthan (67.91%) and six in Madhya Pradesh (69.53%) voted on Monday. BJP won 52 out of 54 seats in these two states in 2014, but lost the assembly elections to the Congress in December.

Maharashtra and Odisha, which had multi phase polling, completed their elections on Monday. While Maharashtra clocked a total tentative turnout of 58.23% (it was 60.32% in 2014), Odisha saw a 68% turnout for simultaneous state and Lok Sabha polling (73.79% in 2014). Polling for the Hindi heartland also gathered pace with the fourth phase. Five seats in Bihar (59.02% turnout), 13 in Uttar Pradesh (58.84%) and three in Jharkhand (64.38%) went to the polls on Monday.

In an incident involving Union minister Babul Supriyo, a FIR was registered against him for entering a polling booth with armed security guards in West Bengal’s Barabani. Another FIR was registered against unknown people for damaging his car.

West Bengal (76.72%) also saw other instances of violence, including a bomb being hurled within 300 metres of a polling station in East Bardhaman, injuring three people. In Jharkhand’s Chatra seat, a voter was arrested for damaging the ballot unit at the end of polling.

In Kulgam district of Anantnag constituency in Jammu and Kashmir, which is witnessing a three-phase polling, the turnout for Monday was 10.5%.

The total amount of illegal cash, assets, etc. seized in this election so far is worth ₹3,274.18 crore.

961 candidates were in the fray. In the nine states, more than 140,000 polling booths were set up. The largest number of candidates were from Maharashtra —323 for just 17 seats.

With the addition of electors continuing till the last date of nomination, India’s total electorate now stands at 910,136,588.

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