Brisk polling in Phase IV of Lok Sabha elections

Despite the scorching heat in most parts of the country, queues were witnessed outside booths.

Brisk polling in Phase IV of Lok Sabha elections

Brisk polling was reported in the initial hours of the Phase IV of Lok Sabha elections in 96 constituencies spread over 10 states on Monday with enthusiastic voters braving the sun to cast their ballots.

An approximate voter turnout of 10.35 per cent was recorded in the first two hours of polling amid complaints of EVM malfunctioning in West Bengal.

Prominent among the early voters were former Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, BJP chief in Telangana G Kishan Reddy, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, popular Telugu actors Chiranjeevi, Allu Arjun, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu.

Along with all the LS constituencies in Andhra Pradesh (25) and Telangana (17), voting is taking place simultaneously to elect MLAs for the 125-member Andhra Pradesh Assembly.

Despite the scorching heat in most parts of the country, queues were witnessed outside booths.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the YSRCP had won 22 seats while TDP was reduced to just 3.

As many as 28 legislative assembly seats of Odisha are also going to polls in this phase.

A total of 1,717 candidates are in the fray in the Lok Sabha seats and more than 19 lakh polling officials have been deployed at 1.92 lakh polling stations for the over 17.70 crore eligible voters, including 8.73 women, in this round of the seven-phase polls.

The no-holds-barred campaign saw politicians from both the NDA and INDIA bloc parties criss-cross remote constituencies to woo the voters.

The usual cacophony over issues like reservation, minority appeasement, corruption and jobs dominated the battle of narratives in the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections, but the highlight of the electioneering was the sharp exchanges between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

The campaign saw BJP leaders led by Prime Minister Modi attacking the Congress over the remarks of Rahul Gandhi's close aide Sam Pitroda on "race" and "skin colour" of Indians. They accused the INDIA bloc parties of being "anti-Hindu" and engaging in "loot, appeasement" and "dynastic politics".

Voters will decide the electoral fortune of Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav (Kannauj, UP), Union ministers Giriraj Singh (Begusarai, Bihar) and Nityanand Rai (Ujiarpur, Bihar), Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (Baharampur, WB), BJP's Pankaja Munde (Beed, Maharashtra), AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi (Hyderabad, Telangana) and Andhra Pradesh Congress president YS Sharmila (Kadapa).

Union minister Ajay Kumar Mishra Teni, whose son is an accused in the 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, is eyeing a hat-trick from Kheri (UP), while TMC's Mahua Moitra, who was expelled from Lok Sabha in the wake of cash-for query allegations, is seeking re-election from Krishnanagar in West Bengal.

Film star-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha is seeking re-election from Asansol where he is pitted against BJP's veteran leader S S Ahluwalia. BJP's former West Bengal president Dilip Ghosh and Trinamool Congress' Kirti Azad are contesting from Bardhaman-Durgapur.

Besides 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana and 25 in Andhra Pradesh, polling will be held on Monday in 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. The BJP-led NDA has MPs from over 40 of these 96 seats.

So far, till phase three of the Lok Sabha elections, polling has been concluded in 283 out of 543 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 remaining three phases will be held on May 20, May 25 and June 1 and counting of votes is scheduled on June 4.

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