New Delhi/Hyderabad/Dehradun/Shimla/Patna /Kolkata/Leh, May 7 UNI | 3 months ago

Moderate to brisk polling was reported from 64 constituencies spread over seven states as millions of voters cast their ballot despite hostile weather and security threat perceptions.

No major untoward incident was reported so far.In Baramulla and Ladakh the turnout was slow. Thousands of voters began lining up outside booths across the seven states, including coastal Andhra districts, large areas in West Bengal, Bihar, eastern and central Uttar Pradesh, Himalayan tracts of Himachal, Uttarakhand, Kashmir Valley and reaches of Ladakh.

Polling in the penultimate round is taking place in Andhra Pradesh (25 seats), Uttar Pradesh (15), Bihar (seven), West Bengal (six), Uttarakhand ( five), Himachal (four) and Jammu & Kashmir (two).

Elections are also being held simultaneously for 175 Assembly seats in Seemandhra.

In 2009 in this round, Congress had won on 34 seats, BSP and JD(U) five each, BJP, TDP and CPI-M( four each), SP(three), RJD (two) and CPI, Forward Bloc, NC and Independent one apiece. Voting will conclude in most constituencies at 1800 hrs.

Bollywood playback singer Babul Supriyo, former Bengali film actors Sandhya Roy and Moon Moon Sen and veteran CPI(M) leader Basudeb Acharia are among the 72 contestants in the fray in West Bengal.

The Lok Sabha seats of Bihar for which the polling is being held are Sheohar, Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur, Maharajganj, Saran, Hajipur and Ujiyarpur.

Polling is also underway in by-elections to Maharajganj and Chirayia Assembly constituencies. Among the aspirants in the electoral battle for the fifth phase are former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi, erstwhile Bihar minister Janardan Singh Sigriwal, ex-Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudi, former Union minister and LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan, sitting RJD MP Prabhunath Singh, sitting JD(U) MP Ram Sundar Das, ex-Union minister and Congress leader Akhilesh Prasad Singh, Congress leader Sanjeev Prasad Toni, Nitya Nand Rai, Rama Devi, and Lovely Anand.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, TV star and Rajya Sabha member Smriti Irani of the BJP, poet Kumar Vishwaas (all three from Amethi), BJP general secretary Varun Gandhi (Sultanpur), Union Steel Minister and Congress candidate Beni Prasad Verma (Gonda), UP Congress president Nirmal Khatri (Faizabad), and cricketer-turned politician and Congress candidate Mohammad Kaif(Phulpur) are the prominent candidates in the fray in the fifth phase of elections in Uttar Pradesh.

A UNI report from Hyderabad said an estimated 35 per cent of 3.67 crore electorate exercised their franchise in the first four hours in the second and last phase election to 25 Lok Sabha and 175 Assembly seats in Seemandhra region.

Kurnool district recorded 41 per cent polling so far, while the Vishakhapatnam and East Godavari districts registered 28 per cent.

Barring a few sporadic incidents, the polling was progressing peacefully. Some stray incidents were reported from Guntur district, where police had to fire into air to disperse clashing TDP-BJP and YSRCP activists in Ramireddy Palem village in Rompicharla Mandalam under Narasarao Pet Parliamentary constituency.

In West Bengal, more than 45 per cent turnout of the total 8.8 million voters was recorded till 1100 hrs in six Lok Sabha constituencies.

While Jhargram recorded 47.43 per cent polling, 45.10 per cent turnout was recorded at Purulia, 42.73 per cent in Medinipur, 47.89 per cent in Asansol, 45.36 per cent in Bankura and 45.07 per cent in Bishnupur.

The CEO said barring some stray incidents and malfunctioning of the EVMs voting was by and large peaceful. Besides Babul Supriyo, former Bengali film heroines Sandhya Roy and Moon Moon Sen and veteran CPI(M) leader Basudeb Achariya are among the 72 contestants involved in the fray. A UNI report from Lucknow said an estimated 25.18 per cent of the 2.62 crore voters exercised their franchise till 1100 hrs this morning for the 15 seats in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha election in Uttar Pradesh.

Polling is underway on a peaceful note with no untoward incident being reported from anywhere.

Polling in all the 15 seats, spread over 17 districts, will continue till 1800 hrs.

All the polling booths have been covered by Central forces this time.

AAP candidate in Amethi Kumar Vishwas, however, alleged that there was large-scale rigging in Amethi by the Congress activists.

Polling percentage in 15 LS seat was 25.18 per at 1100 hrs while in two assembly by-elections at Vishwanathganj and Rampur Khas, both in Pratapgarh district, it was around 21 per cent.

Faizabad Lok Sabha seat registered 29.20 polling while Pratapgarh 20.8 per cent till 1100 hrs.

Polling percentage in UP was decreasing as the election is in progress. In the first phase in 10 seats, it was 64.38 per cent which came down to 61.94 in the second phase in 11 seats and to 60.12 per cent in the third phase in 12 seats. In the fourth phase the voting percentage was just 59.06 per cent in 14 seats.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, TV star and Rajya Sabha member Smriti Irani of the BJP, poet Kumar Viswas (all three from Amethi), BJP general secretary Varun Gandhi (Sultanpur), Union Steel Minister and Congress candidate Beni Prasad Verma(Gonda), UP Congress president Nirmal Khatri (Faizabad), and cricketer-turned politician and Congress candidate Mohammad Kaif(Phulpur) are the prominent candidates among the 243 candidates in the fray for the fifth phase elections.

Among the candidates 21 are women and one belonging to the third category.

UNI Correspondents in Bihar reported that about 20 percent electorate exercised their franchise till this noon in seven of the 40 Lok Sabha seats where polling is being held amid tight security for fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections in Bihar today.

Additional Chief Electoral Officer R Laxmanan said that 15.28 percent electorate exercised their franchise till 1000 hrs. Polling in Muzaffarpur Lok Sabha seat was reported to be fastest and it was recorded at 18 percent while lowest polling was reported from Ujiarpur where the figure stood at 12.5 percent.

In Uttarakhand, voters, greeted by a clear sky after last evening's downpour in most parts of the state, made a beeline for polling booths in the five Lok Sabha constituencies.

People, including women, elderly and youth, could be seen lined up at polling booths since early morning to avoid long queues.

Of 74 aspirants in the poll fray, the battle lines were clearly drawn between the Congress and BJP though a number of other parties, in the five Lok Sabha seats of Haridwar, Nainital, Tehri, Almora (R) and Pauri.

In Haridwar, Chief Minister and sitting MP Harish Rawat's prestige was at stake as his wife Renuka Rawat was pitted against BJP's former chief minister and MLA Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.

Among the other 22 contestants, Aam Aadmi Party's Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya, the first woman DGP of the state and Samajwadi Party's Anita Saini were expected to make a split in the votes of the two major parties.

In Tehri, after much ado, Congress has once again fielded Saket Bahuguna, son of former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna against BJP's sitting MP and Tehri royal family scion Mala Rajlakshmi, who had trounced him in 2012 bypolls.

According to Shimla reprts,about 31.67 per cent of the 4.8 million electorate had exercised their franchise by 1100 hrs in the four Lok Sabha constituencies of Himachal Pradesh where polling is underway. State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Narinder Chauhan told UNI that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) have been replaced at ten places due to technical snags.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh exercised his franchise at his home town Rampurbushair in the Mandi Parlimentary Constituency, leader of Opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal at Samirpur in Hamirpur district and BJP senior leader Shanat Kumar at Palampur in Kangra district this morning.

Mr Singh's wife who is the Congress candidate for Mandi Lok Sabha seat Pratibha Singh and son Vikramaditya Singh exercised his vote at Rampurbuishar in polling both (no-2) at 0930 hrs. Mr Dhumal, his son and sitting MP from Hamirpur Anurag Thakur, and other family members initially went to native deity temple Avahadevi at Samirpur before casting their votes at 1000 hrs. BJP stalwart and candidate of Kangra Lok Sabha Shanta Kumar exercised his vote at Palampurm his native place this morning. Moderate to brisk polling was in progress in Ladakh Parliamentary constituency, where there was no impact of poll boycott call given by separatist organisations.

An official spokesman said border district of Kargil recorded 26 per cent of polling during the first four hours. Leh, Buddhist dominated, witnessed 14.10 poll percentage till 1100 hrs. At a polling booth set up in Housing Colony, Leh, women outnumbered men. A long queue of women could be seen while there were just few men voters till 1100 hrs.

In Baramulla,low to moderate polling was recorded during the first four hours in Baramulla Parliamentary constituency in north Kashmir, where tension gripped some areas following boycott call by separatists, fresh attacks on security personnel and stone pelting incidents.

Though some polling booths witnessed very few voters in the major towns, there was a good voter turnout in far-flung and remote villages. An official spokesman said the frontier district of Kupwara registered 20 per cent polling till 1100 hrs.

Former Deputy Chief Minister and senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Muzaffar Hussain Beig, seeking mandate from the constituency, cast his vote at Chandoosa in Baramulla district.

Unprecedented security arrangements have been made in the constituency, spread over frontier district of Kupwara, Baramulla and Bandipora, to generate confidence among the voters to exercise their democratic right in a peaceful atmosphere.

(Posted on 08-05-2014)