Above 66pc voter turnout in Phase IV amid violence in Andhra, Bengal

Above 66pc voter turnout in Phase IV amid violence in Andhra, Bengal

Amid reports of violence in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, the fourth phase of voting for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in 96 constituencies to decide the electoral fortune of 1,717 candidates, recorded a turn out of 66.58 per cent.

Polling was held in all 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana, all 25 seats in Andhra Pradesh, 13 in Uttar Pradesh, five in Bihar, four in Jharkhand, eight in Madhya Pradesh, 11 in Maharashtra, four in Odisha, eight in West Bengal and one in Jammu and Kashmir.

Voting took place in the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency -- the first major election in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.

Polling was held simultaneously in all 175 Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh and 28 seats in Odisha in the fourth phase. More than 19 lakh polling officials were deployed at 1.92 lakh polling stations for the over 17.70 crore eligible voters in this round. 

Prominent candidates in the fray include Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Union minister Giriraj Singh, TMC's firebrand leader Mohua Moitra and AIMIM's Asaduddin Owaisi, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, former cricketer Yusuf Pathan of TMC, and Andhra Pradesh Congress president YS Sharmila.

As per turnout data, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed the lowest voting percentage with 38 percent of voters exercising their franchise, while West Bengal recorded the highest with 77.86 per cent. Among other states, Andhra Pradesh recorded 74.17 percent polling, Bihar 57.06 per cent, Jharkhand 64.89 per cent, Madhya Pradesh 70.98 per cent, Maharashtra 59.64 per cent, Odisha 73.97 percent, Telangana 64.46 per cent and Uttar Pradesh 58.05 per cent.

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.

In Andhra Pradesh, the TDP and YSRCP traded charges and accused each other of resorting to violence, especially in Palnadu, Kadapa and Annamayya districts. YSRCP also wrote to the EC, alleging poll code violations by rival TDP in several assembly seats.

TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu, on the other hand, alleged that there was "no peaceful atmosphere in the state for people to exercise their franchise".

In Uttar Pradesh, there were instances of poll boycotts with people in some villages of Shahjahanpur keeping away from the process to protest against the lack of roads and development.

Sporadic incidents of violence marred the fourth phase of Lok Sabha polls in the eight parliamentary constituencies of West Bengal as TMC and BJP workers clashed in various areas under Birbhum and Bardhaman-Durgapur Lok Sabha seats.

The TMC, BJP, and Congress-CPI (M) alliance lodged separate complaints of poll violence, voter intimidation and assaults on poll agents in the first few hours of polling, sources said.

EVM glitches were also reported in several places in Odisha. The Election Commission suspended two polling officials in Odisha for dereliction of duty, the chief electoral officer said.

Voting was peaceful in Jammu and Kashmir where three generations of the Abdullah family cast their vote in the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency.

Till phase three of the Lok Sabha elections, polling was held in 283 seats out of 543. After today's round, polling will conclude in 379 seats. The voter turnout in the first three phases of the Lok Sabha elections was 66.14 per cent, 66.71 per cent and 65.68 per cent, respectively. Polling for the next three phases in the country will be held on May 20, May 25 and June 1. The counting of votes is on June 4. 

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