60 percent turnout in West Bengal as India votes in 7th phase
Nearly 60 percent votes were cast in eastern state of West Bengal till 1 pm as India underwent its seventh phase of elections on Wednesday with 89 parliamentary constituencies across seven states and two union territories going to the hustings.
BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who is a candidate from Vadodara that is undergoing polling in this phase, also cast his vote in this phase.
Voting is being held in Gujarat, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir and Telangana besides in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
A total of 13.83 crore people are eligible to vote in this round.
West Bengal witnessed the highest turnout since morning in all the nine seats that are going to polls in this round. Till noon, while Howrah recorded 40 percent turnout shortly after noon in Burdwan it was nearly 50 percent. In Bolpur in Birbhum district the polling was also as high at 49 percent. Later the percentages shot up to nearly 60 by 1 pm.
In West Bengal also reports of violence and booth capturing poured in. TV footage showed many sustaining injury. Opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) alleged booth capturing in large scale and they complained to the EC.
In Bolpur, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen also cast his vote.
This phase of polls in West Bengal was preceded by a slanging match between the ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP with both Mamata Banerjee and her colleagues targetting Modi after the latter accused Mamata of gaining from selling her painting for astronomical price to the now jailed chief of tainted ponzi company Saradha.
In this phase the whole of Gujarat and Punjab are voting.
The fates of Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi (Rae Bareli) and BJP stalwarts like L K Advani (Gandhinagar) and Murli Manohar Joshi would also be decided in this round. BJP president Rajnath Singh is also a candidate in this round from from Lucknow.
In Rae Bareli the turnout was 22 per cent till 11 am. Vadodara in Gujarat from where Modi is contesting witnessed over 40 percent polling by 1 am.
Narendra Modi, who voted at Ranip under Gandhinagar constitutency, also took a selfie of his inked finger after casting his ballots and waved a lotus sign. His waving of lotus is seen as a violation of model code of conduct by Opposition and they are complaining to the Election Commission.
"I seek forgiveness for not being able to devote enough time here. I could only give 18 hours this time here," Modi said after voting, addressing media.
In Punjab's Amritsar, the battle is between BJP's Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley against former Congress chief minister Amrinder Singh.
This is Jaitley's maiden Lok Sabha contest.
This phase is also crucial for the new state of Telangana carved out of Andhra Pradesh. Voting is on for 17 Lok Sabha seats from the region along with 119 seats for what will be its first assembly. From June 2 Telangana will be a new state.
(Posted on 30-04-2014)