Voting for the seventh and final phase ended on Sunday evening. Fifty-nine constituencies went to polls on Sunday, 13 each are from Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, nine in West Bengal, eight seats each in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, all four constituencies of Himachal Pradesh, three in Jharkhand and lone seat of Chandigarh.
Around 63 per cent polling was recorded till 6 PM. 57 per cent votes were cast in Uttar Pradesh; 60 per cent in Punjab; 73 in West Bengal; 53 in Bihar; 70 per cent in Madhya Pradesh; 66 in Himachal Pradesh; 71 in Jharkhand; and 64 per cent in Chandigarh. In Himachal Pradesh, over 66 percent voters exercise their franchise for four Lok Sabaha seats. According to sources, the state recorded higher polling as compared to the last Lok Sabha election.
In state polling for 4 constituencies spread across 12 districts ended at 6:00 pm on Sunday. With this the fate of 45 candidate’s contesting to make it to a parliament has been sealed in EVM machine. An impressive turnout was recorded on all four seats. Polling was by and large peaceful except reports of EVM malfunction in some polling stations.
Braving the cold at world’s highest polling station Tashigang of Lahol Sphiti voters came wearing their traditional attire with great enthusiasm. India’s “first” voter 102 years old Shyam Saran Negi of kinnaur district also reached to exercise his franchise at the Kalpa booth in Mandi Lok Sabha seat. It may be recalled that Forty-five candidates are in the fray for the four Lok Sabha seats Shimla, Mandi, Hamirpur and Kangra, however direct contest is between the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress.
According to sources even in naxal affected areas people came out in large number to vote. Barring some incidents of glitches in EVMs overall polling was peaceful in the last and final phase of elections. Heavy security arrangements were in place on all the polling booths of 13 seats. Especially in Varanasi people were very enthusiastic in using their franchise, some even came to polling station amidst much fanfare.
In those areas of Sonbhadra district which were earlier naxal affected, people voted in large numbers without any fear. First time voters were very enthusiastic to cast their votes. Seventh phase polling will decide fate of many political stalwarts including senior BJP leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bhojpuri fim star Ravi Kishan Shukla, Union Ministers Manoj Sinha, Anupriya patel, state presidents of BJP and BSP Mahendra Nath Pandey, and RS Kushwaha and former union Minister RPN Singh.
With this polling the election extravaganza completed peacefully in the state which saw a high voltage campaigning from almost 2 months and a rigorous seven phased polling on a total of 80 constituencies. In Bihar voting was held in Nalanda, Patna Sahib, Patliputra, Ara,Buxar, Sasaram, Karakat and Jahanabad Lok Sabha constituencies. Political fate of 157 candidates has been sealed in EVMs after Sunday’s polling.
Our correspondent reports that in comparison to 2014 elections this time 2.06 percent more voting was recorded. In rural areas comparatively more electorates exercised their right of franchise .Like previous phases of elections percent of women voters was more than male. Important candidates whose political fortune have been sealed in EVMs are four Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad,Ramkripal Yadav,Ashwani Kumar Choubey and R.K.Singh.Besides Shatrughan Sinha of Congress ,former Speaker Meera Kunar,Upendra Kushwaha of RLSP and Misa Bharati of RJD are also trying their luck.
In Jharkhand large number of people today cast their vote on three parliamentary constituencies, Godda, Dumka and Rajmahal. Our correspondent reports that three parliamentary constituencies of Jharkhand- Godda, Dumka and Rajmahal have seen heavy pool today which is higher than 2014. Two of the three seats were won by the JMM in 2014 while Godda was won by the BJP. But this time BJP has shown initiative to establish itself in the strong hold of JMM on one hand, whereas JMM has forced coalition with the Congress, JVM and RJD to check the BJP. What does Sunday’s heavy poll indicate, is a matter of political speculation and analysis until final results comes out on 23rd May.
In west Bengal, polling was marked by violence. Our correspondent reports that sporadic violence marked the last and final phase of polls in West Bengal. Ruling Trinamool Congress and opposition BJP supporters indiscriminately used bombs, opened fire during series of clashes at Kakinara under Bhatpara assembly constituency where voting for bye elections took place.
Two persons received bullet injuries and 3 vehicles of police were damaged during the clashes. Clashes and bomb throwing incidents were also reported from Deganga, Baduria, Diamond Herbour, Raidighi, Jadavpur and Kolkata. The Election Commission removed 3 presiding officers under Jadavpur and Diamond Harbour parliamentary seats for negligence of duties. Police arrested 346 people in connection with different cases from various areas.
Voters have already exercised their franchise for 483 out of the total 542 parliamentary seats in the previous six phases. The election on Vellore seat, which was slated for the second phase, was cancelled. Along with the general election, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim also underwent assembly elections.