Incidents of violence in West Bengal and clashes in Punjab were reported during the seventh and last phase of Lok Sabha polls on Sunday, with 62.87 polling percentage being recorded till 8 pm in 59 seats. The last phase of Lok Sabha elections, which will decide the fate of 918 candidates including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also saw EVM glitches and poll boycott at some booths. Voting was held for 13 parliamentary constituencies each in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, nine seats in West Bengal, Bihar (8), Madhya Pradesh (8), Himachal Pradesh (4), Jharkhand (3) and Chandigarh (1) today.
Violence erupted in Chandauli Lok Sabha constituency, where state Bharatiya Janata Party chief Mahendra Nath Pandey is seeking re-election, when supporters of the BJP and the Samajwadi Party clashed. A report from Chandauli said the fingers of Dalits had been inked before they could actually cast their vote. Incidents of violence were reported in West Bengal where 73.51 per cent of over 1.49 crore electorate exercised their franchise till 8 pm in nine Lok Sabha seats. According to BJP's North Kolkata candidate Rahul Sinha, a crude bomb was thrown near Girish Park in the constituency around noon. Police, however, said crackers were burst in the area, and polling was underway peacefully. In Kolkata south, Trinamool Congress (TMC) candidate Mala Roy alleged that she was stopped from entering polling booths. Sporadic clashes were reported in Kolkata and its surrounding areas, with TMC workers claiming that voters were being intimidated by central forces outside booths. BJP candidate Nilanjan Roy in Diamond Harbour constituency alleged that his car was vandalised in Budge Budge area. Similar reports also came in from Jadavpur constituency, where BJP candidate Anupam Hazra's car came under the attack of unidentified men.
In the last phase of Lok Sabha polls, over 10.01 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise. The Election Commission has set up more than 1.12 lakh polling stations and has deployed security personnel for smooth conduct of polls. An average of 66.88 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the last six phases. The whole elections were spread over 38 days. Counting of votes will be taken up on May 23.
Here are the highlights from 7th phase of polling in Lok Sabha Elections 2019:
More than 57.81 per cent voting was recorded till 7 pm in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency Varanasi. Bharatiya Janata Party veteran and former parliamentarian from Varanasi Murali Manohar Joshi was among the prominent faces who cast their votes. This prestigious constituency has witnessed extensive campaigning with both Prime Minister Modi and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra holding roadshows in Varanasi.