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Violence is the reason for Bengal’s strong attendance in the fifth round, according to LS polls

In West Bengal’s seven parliamentary seats, where the Election Commission recorded a 73% voter participation as of 5 p.m. on Monday, there were sporadic reports of violence in the Phase-V polling. There have been reports of altercations between BJP and Trinamool Congress activists in several areas of Barrackpore, Aramabagh, and Hooghly.

BJP candidate Arjun Singh said in Barrackpore that the state police had misled the Central soldiers. He said that TMC employees intimidated voters. Battles between TMC and BJP supporters over polling agents broke out in the Khanakul district of the Arambagh seat. Security forces also removed two live crude explosives from the vicinity.

TMC candidate Mitali Bag said that voters were bullied and terrorized by BJP supporters. Arup Kanti Digar, the BJP candidate, refuted the claims and accused the TMC of inciting violence. Parts of the Howrah constituency also reported violent incidents. The BJP accused TMC workers in the Liluah region of the constituency of clogging booths, which resulted in altercations.

Local BJP leader Subir Biswas was reportedly beaten up by TMC supporters at a booth in the Gayeshpur district of the Bongaon constituency. Later on, he was sent to a hospital. Union Minister and BJP candidate Shantanu Thakur discovered someone inside a polling station using his opponent Biswajit Das’ identification card in the Kalyani region of the same seat.

In the fifth round, 88 candidates are running, with Bongaon having the most nominations (15)—Union Minister Shantanu Thakur is running against TMC’s Biswajit Das there. In addition to almost 30,000 state police officers, the EC deployed over 60,000 members of the Central forces and classified over 57% of the voting places as sensitive.

More security personnel have been brought in for this round of the elections than for any of the previous four rounds in the state. Swapan Banerjee, the younger brother of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, was unable to cast a ballot because his name was not on the list of electors.

Bihar

Monday’s fifth round of the Lok Sabha elections in Bihar saw an estimated 55.85% of the state’s 95.11 lakh voters cast ballots under complex security preparations. In the first phase of voting, Hajipur, Saran, Muzaffarpur, Madhubani, and Sitarmhi were among the candidates. Eighty people are running for office, including Rohini Acharya from Saran, the daughter of RJD chairman Lalu Prasad, and Chirag Paswan from Hajipur, the son of late Ram Vilas Paswan, the founder of the LJP. Rajeev Pratap Rudy, the current BJP MP from Saran, and Devesh Chandra Thakur, the chairman of the Bihar Legislative Council, both hail from Sitmarhi, are two more well-known contenders. Bihar’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), H R Srinivasa, said that voting proceeded without incident in any of the state’s five seats. He said that voters in the Muzaffarpur Lok Sabha seat boycotted voting places at booth numbers 79 in the Aurai assembly segment and 140 in the Gaighat assembly segment.

Jalpaiguri

In response to their unmet demand, no voters showed up at the two polling places in Kusumbha village under Katkamdag Block on Monday, even though Hazaribagh had the highest voter turnout among the three Lok Sabha constituencies during the second round of voting. The locals claim that they have been asking the authorities to build a flyover close to the Banadag Coal Sliding, but their request has not yet been met. As a result, around 2000 people chose to abstain from voting in Kusumbha village’s two polling places, 183 and 184, in protest. These two voting places received zero votes. There was stillness at the two voting places all day, so the poll workers returned empty-handed. Notably, the people had been asking the NTPC officials for a bridge. The locals, on the other hand, believe that the NTPC’s construction of an underpass is inappropriate for giving them access to drinking water, necessities, healthcare, and other necessities.

State of Odisha

Officials said that, as of 3 p.m. on Monday, Odisha had 48.95 percent of voters cast ballots in five Lok Sabha seats and 35 Assembly districts. Voting in the 35 assembly segments that fall within the purview of these Lok Sabha seats, as well as the parliamentary constituencies of Aska, Kandhamal, Bargarh, Bolangir, and Sundergarh, began at 7 am. Elections to the Lok Sabha and Assembly are happening in Odisha at the same time. According to the police, no unusual occurrence at any voting place had been reported. Chief Electoral Officer N B Dhal, however, said that after the discovery of some anomalies at the voting place, one of the booth presiding officers in the Kantamal assembly segment was taken into jail by the police. The CEO said, “It is not a poll violence, but a crime incident that had taken place outside the polling station,” in reference to the death of a man near Sarsara within Sadar police boundaries in the Bargarh district. Although there was some tension in the booth after the event, it has been handled by the local police. This act had no effect on the polls, he claimed.

Kashmir and Jammu

The Baramulla Lok parliamentary seat in J&K had record voter participation of 59%, the highest in forty years, after Srinagar. “59% of voters cast ballots for the Baramulla parliamentary seat,” according to P K Pole, Chief Election Officer for J&K. In the last forty years, this is the greatest poll percentage for the Baramulla parliamentary constituency. In the pre-militancy period, this poll % is the second-highest ever recorded. The Baramulla LS seat received 61.09% of the vote in 1984. None of the constituency’s 2103 voting places had a zero percent polling rate. Voters turned out in Sopore town, which used to have very low voter participation and was the hometown of late separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani. I have never before cast a ballot in my life. Additionally, this is my first election as a voter agent. This polling station in Sopore is being used by voters for the first time, a young man named Javed Ahmed said. He noted that although there used to be very little voting in Sopore, there is now a lot of interest and fervor among the populace, particularly among the younger generation.

Ladakh

Ladakh, which includes the districts of Leh and Kargil, is the biggest parliamentary constituency in India in terms of area. Voting took place in Skara Yokma in Leh, with Lt Governor Brig (Dr) BD Mishra (retd) and his wife Neelam Mishra among those present. In Ulyaktopo hamlet in Leh, well-known climate activist Sonam Wangchuk, who made headlines recently for organizing a 66-day sit-in protest in support of demands including statehood and protections under the 6th Schedule for Ladakh, cast his ballot. “I just voted, and that makes me happy. The fact that so many individuals do not utilize their right to vote also makes me unhappy. Numerous statesmen made great sacrifices for our nation. “People ought to commemorate the occasion of democracy,” Wangchuk said. Three contenders are vying for the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat. The only contender from the Shia Muslim-dominated Kargil area is independent Mohammad Haneefa Jan. There are two candidates from the Buddhist-dominated Leh region: Tashi Gyalson of the BJP and Tsering Namgyal of the Congress.

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