Polling for the fourth phase of Lok Sabha election in 72 parliamentary constituencies spread across nine States began on Monday. The stakes are high for the ruling BJP and its allies as it had swept 56 of these seats in 2014, leaving just two for the Congress and the rest for other opposition parties such as the Trinamool Congress (six) and the Biju Janata Dal (six).
Voting will take place in 17 seats in Maharashtra, 13 each in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, eight in West Bengal, six each in Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, five in Bihar, three in Jharkhand and a part of the Anantnag constituency in Jammu and Kashmir.
Election in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP had cornered all but two of the total 54 seats in 2014, will begin in this phase. The Congress appeared to make a comeback, forming the governments in the States after last year’s Assembly polls.
Here are the latest updates:
10:05 | West Bengal
Babul Supriyo, BJP candidate from Asansol, gets inside a polling booth argues with polling personnel. TMC alleges he is trying to intimidate polling personnel. Mr. Supriyo alleges rigging in polling booths.
Meanhwile, Mr. Supriyo has also alleged that his car has been vandalised in Asansol.
10:00 | Mumbai
Polling percentage in Maharashtra in the 17 constituencies is recorded at 6.82% till 9:00 a.m.. Following are the Mumbai district voting percentage (till 9am):
Mumbai South Central 6.44%
Mumbai South 6.02%
Mumbai North – 7.85%
North West – 6.9%
North East – 7.00%
North Central – 5.98%
South Central – 6.45%
Mumbai South – 5.91%
9:50 am | Madhya Pradesh
Following is the constituency-wise polling percentage recorded in Madhya Pradesh till 9.00 am.
9:40 am | Jammu and Kashmir
Deserted polling stations in Kulgam
Volatile constituency of Kulgam recorded less than 1% polling in the first hour of voting, with most polling stations in the main town wearing a deserted look.
Hundreds of security personnel are manning the polling booths in this militancy affected district. No polling recorded yet in Kulgam. “Noorabad registered 0.5%, HS Bugh, 0.1% and Devsar 0.3%. The overall percentage is 0.2%,” said a poll official.
Over 3.45 lakh electors are going to exercise their franchise in Kulgam district in the second leg of three-phased schedule for Anantnag Parliamentary Constituency on April 29.
9:30 am | Rajasthan
In the first hour of polling in Rajasthan, voters’ overall turnout was 13.41%, according to Rajasthan CEO. The highest turnout was recorded in Banswara at 14.58%.
Polling percentage till 9:00 a.m. is 2.99. Following is the state wise update.
|Jammu and Kashmir||0.61%|
8:30 am | West Bengal
Trinamool leader Anubrata Modal under surveillance
Election Commission of India has kept Birbhum strongman and senior Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mondal under strict surveillance as polling for two seats of the district are going on Monday. In a late evening development on Sunday the Commission has ordered that Mr Mondal be kept “under tight surveillance of Executive Magistrate and CAPF, round the clock “. As per directions of the commission movement of Trinamool Congress district president will be videographed and he will be denied access to mobile phones. The surveillance will continue till Tuesday evening.
Angry voters are agitating against polling officers in booth number 205 and 207 under Bolpur constituency alleging EVM malfunction in Birbhum. Reports of EVM malfunctioning in multiple locations in Birbhum.
Meanwhile, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress candidate from Bahrampur, alleges that party agents are driven out of polling booths of the Bahrampur constituency.
8:10 am | New Delhi
Modi urges people to vote on Monday.
“Another phase of the general elections begins today. I hope those voting today do so in large numbers and break the voting records of the previous three phases. A special appeal to young voters to head to the polling booth and exercise their franchise,” Mr. Modi tweets.
A total 12.79 crore people are eligible to vote in this phase of polling.
7:50 am | Mumbai
For those who require wheelchairs and lift taxis at polling booths in Mumbai, which is voting today, one call on 9821339264 /9594880408/ 022 23640113/ 022 23638605 asking for help.
7:30 am | Bihar
All eyes on Begusarai
In Bihar, out of the five Lok Sabha seats going to the polls all eyes are on Begusarai, where former JNU student’s union president Kanhaiya Kumar is contesting against Union Minister Giriraj Singh and RJD candidate Tanweer Hassan.
Both Mr. Kumar and Mr. Singh are from the dominant upper caste Bhumihar community but their politics represent two poles.
7:10 am | West Bengal
Voting has started for eight Lok Sabha seats in Bengal . Elections are being held in Asansol, Bardhaman Purba , Bardhaman Durgapur, Bolpur, Birbhum, Ranaghat, Krishnagar and Bahrampur Lok Sabha seat in the state. These seats are spread across five districts Bardhaman Asansol, Bardhaman Purba,Birbhum, Nadia and Murshidabad. Unprecedented deployment of security forces , 561 companies deployed across eight Lok Sabha seats here.
– The Hindu correspondent Shiv Sahay Singh reports
In Phase 4, fate of 961 candidates will be decided by about 12.79 core voters
In the first three phases, voting has been held in 302 Lok Sabha constituencies, and 168 more seats will go to polls in the last three phases.
The fate of 961 candidates, including Union Ministers Giriraj Singh, Subhash Bhamre, S.S. Ahluwalia and Babul Supriyo of the BJP and former Union Ministers Salman Khurshid and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of the Congress, will be decided by about 12.79 core voters in the fourth phase.
Among other key contestants in the fray are Kanhaiya Kumar (CPI), Baijayant Panda (BJP), Urmila Matondkar (Congress), Dimple Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Satabdi Roy (TMC) and Milind Deora (Congress).
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has set up 1.40 lakh polling booths/stations and has made elaborate security arrangements.
In Maharashtra, where election will come to end with this phase, the Opposition Congress is facing a tough task of reclaiming its lost base in north Maharashtra and Mumbai, while the NCP is trying to get a foothold in Thane district and Western Maharashtra. The BJP and its ally Shiv Sena had won all 17 seats in 2014.
Union Minister Subhash Bhamre, and Congress leaders Milind Deora and Urmila Matondkar are among the 323 candidates in the fray in this phase.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s son, a member of erstwhile Jaipur royal family and two Union Ministers are among 115 candidates whose fate will be decided on Monday.
Jodhpur became one of the most talked about seats in the Congress ruled State where Mr. Gehlot did massive campaigning for his son Vaibhav, pitted against sitting MP and Union Minister of State Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
In Rajasthan, where the BJP had won all the seats in 2014, the Congress appeared to make a comeback, forming the government in the State with a narrow majority after last year’s Assembly polls.
In Uttar Pradesh, most of these 13 seats are seeing a direct fight between the BJP and SP-BSP alliance with Kannauj being a matter of prestige for the SP.
In 2014, the BJP won 12 of these 13 seats in the State. Only Kannauj, won by the Samajwadi Party, defied the Modi wave that year among them. Former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple is seeking re-election from Kannauj.
The Congress has a good presence in at least three of the constituencies — Unnao (Annu Tandon), Farrukhabad (Salman Khurshid) and Kanpur (Sriprakash Jaiswal).
In West Bengal, all the eight seats, which are spread across four districts, will see a four-cornered contest between Trinamool Congress, BJP, Congress and the Left Front.
In Odisha, where the State’s ruling BJD won all six seats, the BJP is making concerted efforts to bag a few seats.
Prominent among the hopefuls include BJP national vice-president Baijayant Panda (Kendrapara), who quit the BJD to join the party recently. Polling will also be held in 41 Assembly seats in Odisha in this phase.
In Bihar, the BJP and its allies are looking to retain all the five seats in the face of a spirited fight put up by the RJD-Congress alliance.
The cynosure of all eyes in this phase, however, is the Begusarai seat which will witness an electrifying contest between the political Left and the Right with CPI debutant Kanhaiya Kumar taking on firebrand BJP leader Giriraj Singh.
In all the six seats in Madhya Pradesh, a direct fight between the Congress and the BJP is on the cards. The state’s new power centre is witnessing a unique father-son electoral show with Chief Minister Kamal Nath and his son Nakul in the fray, hoping to boost not just the Congress but also strike roots as deep as the tree from where this region takes its name.
While the Chief Minister, a nine-time MP from the area, is contesting an assembly bypoll, Nakul Nath is hoping to get elected to the Lok Sabha from Chhindwara, named after the wild date palm tree known as Chhind.
Over 45.26 lakh voters will decide the fate of 59 candidates in the first phase of polls for three Lok Sabha constituencies in Jharkhand.
Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Sudarshan Bhagat is seeking re-election from the Lohardaga (ST) seat.
Polling will also be held in Kulgam district, which is part of Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency. Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency is spread over four districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama with 16 assembly segments. The Lok Sabha polls to this constituency are being held in three phases due to security reasons.
Election to 542 Lok Sabha seats is being conducted in seven phases between April 11 and May 19. Election in Vellore constituency in Tamil Nadu has been cancelled following excess use of money power. Results will be declared on May 23.
(With inputs from Agencies)