Election 2019: Polling began for phase 1 on Thursday in the Lok Sabha constituencies of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, and the northeastern states including Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Tripura, Sikkim, Nagaland, Manipur along with the UTs - , Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep. The voter turnout was high and violence sporadic.
General Election 2019 : Lok Sabha 2019 elections got off to a troubled start with reports of missing names in the voter list, clashes and Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) glitches during the first phase of voting on Thursday. The EVM came under heavy criticism today, with reports of glitches coming in from various places in the 18 states and two Union Territories that went to the polls today.
Polling began for phase 1 on Thursday in the Lok Sabha constituencies of Andhra Pradesh (25), Telangana (17), Uttarakhand (5), Meghalaya (2) and Arunachal Pradesh (2) apart from one seat each in Tripura, Mizoram, Sikkim, Nagaland, Manipur, Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
Telangana, which is voting for 17 seats in the parliament, recorded 60.57 percent voting. The prominent candidates in the fray are former Union minister Renuka Chowdhury and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi. Missing names in the electoral roll to created a frenzy on day 1.
In Andhra Pradesh, incidences of violence involving the ruling TDP and YSRC party workers left three people dead, reported news agency PTI. Technical problems in EVMs too were reported during the polling in some booths, even as 73 percent voter turnout was reported for 25 of 175 Assembly seats.
An unverified video also emerged later in the day that showed several Andhra voters saying that the EVMs seemed to choose only a certain symbol despite them pressing a different button.
“We punched on three different symbols, but in all instances, our votes seemed to be going to one. I brought this to the attention of the official in charge, and he agreed that the machine had a glitch. They checked the machine, and it started functioning properly only after that,” a voter, Dhara Singh, was seen saying in the video.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu wrote a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner demanding a repoll in nearly 150 polling stations due to non-functioning of EVMs.
In Andhra Pradesh, a Jana Sena Party candidate was arrested after he damaged an EVM at a polling station in Anantapur district’s Guntakal assembly constituency. Madhusudan’s problem, however, was not with the machine itself. He was angry about staffers at the station not displaying the names of assembly and Parliament constituencies properly.
Eight Lok Sabha seats in western Uttar Pradesh went to polls Thursday.
Mayawati levelled allegations against the Uttar Pradesh police saying that they were preventing some Dalits from casting their votes at a booth in Uttar Pradesh’s Bijnor. Later on Thursday, poll officers refuted these allegations.
Uttarakhand’s five Lok Sabha seats saw a voter turnout of 46.59 percent till 3 pm on Thursday.
People come out in full force in the Northeast
Most northeast states saw a positive voter turnout. Nearly 77.6 percent turned up to vote in the the West Tripura Lok Sabha seat on Thursday, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Suman Rakshit said.
For Outer Manipur Lok Sabha seat, the voter turnout was 78.20 percent whereas 69 percent voted in Sikkim till 5 pm. In Mizoram, CEO Ashish Kundra said the provisional figure on the voter turnout for one Lok Sabha seat as well as by-poll for the Aizawl West-I seat was about 61.29 per cent till five pm.
Arunachal Pradesh saw about 50.79 per cent voters exercising their franchise till 3 pm for two Lok Sabha seats and the state Assembly.
Jammu and Kashmir
In Jammu and Kashmir, four people were reportedly injured in a clash between supporters of NC, Peoples Conference in Baramulla with both the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) alleging EVM malfunctioning in several places in the state. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti also tweeted a video of people protesting after security personnel allegedly attempted to force them into voting for the BJP.
As many as 46.17 percent voters turned up to vote for the Lok Sabha constituencies of Jammu and Baramulla.
In Chhattisgarh, where Naxals killed a BJP lawmaker and five others on Tuesday, an explosion was triggered at a voting station before polls opened. No one was reportedly hurt. More than 56 percent voters exercised their franchise.
Bihar was at the lowest among the 20 states which went for polling with 53.06 percent voter turn out. A total of 70.52 lakh voters were eligible for voting in the four Lok Sabha seats which had 44 candidates contesting in the state. The CEO said that voting was carried out peacefully with stary incidents
of EVM tampering, attempt to loot booths post which the police resorted to firing in the open to disperse and control the anti-social elements.
Two police commandos sustained injuries in a blast triggered by Naxals, near Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district Thursday, however no casualties were reported.
55.78 percent voters exercised their franchise in the first phase of polling in seven Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra.
The state of West Bengal saw 81 percent exercising their franchise. Polls were conducted in two Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal Alipurduar and Cooch Behar with the BJP alleging that TMC did not allow people to vote in latter and also incited violence.