Nearly 61 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 6 pm in the sixth phase of polling, on Sunday at 59 seats in seven states, the Election Commission said.
West Bengal recorded highest polling of 80.16 per cent till 1800 hrs, followed by Jharkhand at 64.46 per cent, Haryana at 62.70 per cent, Madhya Pradesh 60.33 per cent, Bihar 59.29 per cent, Delhi 55.59 per cent and Uttar Pradesh 53.17 per cent.
Polling, which started on a dull note in the morning hours, picked up pace as the day progressed. Delhi, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh recorded improvement in the day time, as people started gathering in front of the polling stations.
The sixth phase saw bigwigs like President Ram Nath Kovind, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, former Union Minister Ajay Maken, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra exercising their franchise in the national capital. India’s cricket captain Virat Kohli and Haryana chief Minister Manohar lal Khattar also exercised their franchise in Punjab and Haryana.
Large scale violence marked the sixth and penultimate phase of polling in West Bengal with Ghatal Lok Sabha constituency virtually turning into a battlefield. Sporadic incidents of violence were also reported from Ghatal and Jhargram Lok Sabha seats.
In Keshpur, BJP candidate, former IPS officer and once a trusted lieutenant of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Bharati Ghosh, was gheraoed by villagers when she went to a booth. Ghosh’s security men resorted to baton charge following which locals lobbed stones injuring one of her security guards. Ghosh’s car was ransacked. The incident took place at around 8 am. A Trinamool Congress worker too was injured after he was hit by a bullet fired by Ghosh’s bodyguard in the violence.
Ghosh was in tears this morning after she was attacked, heckled and pushed to the ground at a polling station. Soon after, she was heckled at another polling station. The Election Commission has sought a report after Ghosh allegedly tried to enter the booth with her mobile phone and take a video.
In Jhargram a BJP worker Ramen Singh (46) was allegedly attacked by TMC workers at Beliabera village in Gopiballavpur. Singh was taken to a local hospital where he was declared brought dead. TMC leaders denied the allegations. The incident took place around midnight.
At Danton under Medinipur Lok Sabha constituency, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh faced violent protest from people who raised ‘Go Back’ slogan to him. Ghosh is the party candidate from this constituency.
Four TMC workers were also injured at Belda in West Midnapore district after BJP and TMC men were engaged in a clash. The camp office of TMC was ransacked allegedly by BJP workers, while the condition of one of the four injured TMC workers was stated to be critical.
A BJP worker was found dead in tribal-dominated Jhargram. The party blamed the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress for the worker’s death. However, the Trinamool Congress denied any link even as BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya alleged that Trinamool workers entered his home and killed him.
Polling for 10 Lok Sabha seats of Haryana was largely peaceful. Haryana director general of police (DGP) Manoj Yadava said that polling was conducted in a peaceful and incident-free manner due to excellent police arrangements, decisive intervention and energetic patrolling carried out since early morning across the state.
In Uttar Pradesh, elections were held for 14 Lok Sabha seats of Poorwanchal region, which passed off peacefully. The fate of Union minister Maneka Gandhi (Sultanpur), Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav (Azamgarh) and UP cabinet minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi (Allahabad) will be decided in this phase.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, BJP had won all the seats of this phase except for Azamgarh, where the then SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav won by defeating BJP’s Ramakant Yadav. But this time, Mulayam is contesting from Mainpuri and his son and SP president Akhilesh Yadav was contesting from the seat.
However, during the by-polls in Phulpur too, BJP was defeated by the SP candidate.
(With agency inputs)