Voter fatigue deepens in Phase IV

| | New Delhi
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Voter fatigue deepens in Phase IV

Tuesday, 14 May 2024 | Rajesh Kumar | New Delhi

Voter fatigue deepens in Phase IV

The intense voters’ awareness programmes for increasing the turnout remained futile as the phase four general elections on Monday saw the average plummeting to over 63 per cent till 8.30 pm on Monday. The voter turnout in the first three phases was 66.14 per cent, 66.71 per cent and 65.68 per cent, respectively.

Interestingly the good news came in from Jammu and Kashmir which saw voting after abrogation of Article 370. Srinagar recorded 36.88 per cent voter average. This figure is higher than Srinagar’s turnout in 2019 when it saw a turnout of 14.43 per cent. The figures for 2014, 2009, 2004 and 1999 are 25.86 per cent, 25.55 per cent, 18.57 per cent and 11.93 per cent respectively.

Elections were held in 96 constituencies spread over 10 States and UTs amid incidents of violence between Trinamool Congress and BJP workers in West Bengal, while YSRCP and TDP cadres came to blows at multiple locations in Andhra Pradesh as well as reports of poll boycott in some Uttar Pradesh villages. Besides, there were also reports of EVMs malfunctioning at some booths in West Bengal and Odisha. This schedule was a critical round for the Congress and not much for the BJP.

According to the Election Commission, polling was held smoothly and peacefully. With the fourth phase, the polling for the 379 out of 543 parliamentary constituencies has been completed. Interestingly, amid the Congress demand to vote for NOTA, voter turnout in Indore was recorded 56.53 per cent, lowest in Madhya Pradesh where the Congress nominated candidate withdrew from the polls.

West Bengal witnessed over 76.02 per cent turnout, the highest among all States polling. Among other States, Andhra Pradesh recorded 68.16 per cent polling, Bihar 55.92 per cent, Jharkhand 63.50 per cent, Madhya Pradesh 68.90 per cent, Maharashtra 52.93per cent, Odisha 63.85 per cent, Telangana 61.54 per cent and Uttar Pradesh 58 per cent. In Telangana, Hyderabad which is considered a stronghold of Asaduddin Owaisi, witnessed 39.17 per cent polling which is lowest in the State.

In Bengal, where violence marred previous rounds of voting, a Trinamool Congress worker was killed in a crude bomb attack. The incident took place in the Bolpur Lok Sabha constituency, mere hours before polling was scheduled to begin.

Amid claims of West Bengal Chief Electoral Officer that voting has been peaceful so far, clashes broke out between supporters of TMC and BJP in Monteswar’s Susunia area of Bardhaman-Durgapur Lok Sabha seat around noon, as BJP candidate Dilip Ghosh was on his way to a polling booth following complaints of booth jamming. Ghosh was allegedly heckled by the TMC activists, sources claimed.

BJP candidate in Telangana’s Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat K Madhavi Latha was booked by election authorities after a video clip surfaced online in which she was purportedly seen asking burqa-clad women voters to show their faces to compare with the photo identity cards.

Latha and Owaisi are facing off in Hyderabad, which the latter won by a sizeable margin in the last Lok Sabha elections.

The YSRCP alleged that party agent Suresh Reddy was stabbed at Mandi Krishnapuram village in Chittoor’s Gudipala mandal. It also alleged that TDP supporters attacked party member B Anji Reddy at Aravallipadu in the Darsi constituency. Polling for 175 Assembly seats and 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in the coastal state is taking place simultaneously.

TDP MLC Mohammed Ahmed Shariff wrote a letter to Chief Electoral Officer Mukesh Kumar Meena, complaining about alleged attacks by YSRCP cadres on TDP supporters at Rentala village in Rentichintala mandal of Palnadu district.

In Jharkhand, security forces thwarted an attempt by Maoists to obstruct voter access to polling booths by felling a tree and blocking a road leading to remote Sonapi and Morangponga areas of West Singhbhum district.

Khunti in Jharkhand recorded highest voter turnout of 68.40 per cent followed by Singhbhum at 68.00 per cent while Palamau recorded lowest at 60.59 per cent Samastipur seat in Bihar recorded highest voter turnout of 58.32 per cent followed by Ujairpur at 57.50 per cent while Munger recorded lowest at 53.41 per cent

Voting was progressing peacefully in Jammu and Kashmir where three generations of the Abdullah family cast their vote in the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency. However, a number of displaced Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu were unable to cast their vote as their names were missing from the electoral rolls. Even as KPs lined up across special polling stations in Jammu amid tight security, several of them had to return without casting their vote.

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