LIVE LS polls LIVE: 59% turnout in sixth phase; Bengal tops with 78% amid BJP complaints
A voter shows her inked finger at a polling booth in Turkman Gate in New Delhi on Saturday | PTI

LS polls LIVE: 59% turnout in sixth phase; Bengal tops with 78% amid BJP complaints

Among prominent candidates were Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, BJP's Maneka Gandhi, Sambit Patra and Manohar Lal Khattar, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, Congress' Kanhaiya Kumar

A voter turnout of over 59% was recorded on Saturday (May 25) in 58 constituencies in six states and two Union territories in the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

West Bengal recorded the highest turnout with 78% followed by Jharkhand (62.66%), and Odisha (59.72%). These were followed by Haryana 58.24% and Bihar (53.19%). Delhi recorded 54.37% polling and Uttar Pradesh 54.03%. Jammu and Kashmir recorded a voter turnout of 52%.

In the national capital, President Droupadi Murmu, Union ministers S Jaishankar and Hardeep Singh Puri, Delhi minister Atishi, Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and outgoing East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir were among the early voters.

Voting was largely peaceful barring in West Bengal, where the BJP candidate from Jhargram, Pranat Tudu, was allegedly attacked when he was visiting a booth in Monglapota, while fellow party candidate from Medinipur, Agnimitra Paul, alleged that BJP polling agents were not allowed inside polling booths in Keshiary.

All you need to know about Phase VI polls

OVER 11 CRORE VOTERS: Over 11.13 crore voters - 5.84 crore male, 5.29 crore female and 5120 third gender - are eligible to exercise their franchise. The Election Commission (EC) has deployed around 11.4 lakh polling officials at 1.14 lakh polling stations.

With large parts of India sweltering under a heat wave, the EC has directed election officials and state machineries to take adequate measures to manage the adverse impact of hot weather.

KEY CANDIDATES: Among the prominent candidates in the poll fray are Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Rao Inderjit Singh and Krishan Pal Gurjar, BJP's Maneka Gandhi, Sambit Patra, Manohar Lal Khattar and Manoj Tiwari, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, and Deepender Singh Hooda, Raj Babbar and Kanhaiya Kumar of Congress.

In West Bengal, voting will be held in the tribal belt Jangal Mahal region, spanning five districts. A hotspot for identity politics, the region sends eight representatives to Lok Sabha from Tamluk, Kanthi, Ghatal, Jhargram, Medinipur, Purulia, Bankura, and Bishnupur seats. Out of the eight seats, the BJP won five and TMC bagged three in the 2019 polls.

Soumendu Adhikari, the brother of Suvendu Adhikari, has been fielded from Kanthi, considered the backyard of the senior BJP leader.

An interesting fight is on the cards in Delhi with the BJP and the INDIA bloc partners pitted in a direct, one-on-one contest in all the seven seats. This is the first time the AAP and the Congress have fielded joint candidates against the BJP. While the AAP is contesting on four seats, the Congress has fielded candidates on the remaining three seats.

The seats going to the polls in UP are Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Phulpur, Allahabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Shrawasti, Domariyaganj, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Lalganj, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Machhlishahr and Bhadohi.

Twenty candidates including Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference's Mian Altaf are in the fray from the redrawn Anantnag-Rajouri constituency in Jammu and Kashmir.

Live Updates

  • 25 May 2024 2:43 PM GMT

    Name not in voters' list, claim non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits

    Many non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits expressed anguish on Saturday, claiming that their names were not in the voters’ list, and termed it an “unfortunate” incident with a group that remained in the Kashmir region despite the turbulent militancy-period of the 1990s.

    The matter pertained to a polling station set up at the Government Higher Secondary School in Mattan under Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha constituency that went to polls in the sixth round of the seven-phase general elections today.

    No comment was immediately available from poll officials on the claims made by members of the small community that lives in a cluster in Anantnag district.

    “I was denied my right to vote as my name was not in the list,” said Sarlaji Tickoo, a retired government employee and a member of the group that did not migrate in the 1990s to Jammu and other places of the country like thousands of Kashmiri Pandits.

    People said they have been born and brought up in Kashmir (Anantnag) and have their Aadhaar and election cards but still were “not allowed” to cast their votes at the polling station. Tickoo and many others said they contacted the Anantnag deputy commissioner-cum-returning officer over the issue of missing names from the voters’ list. Assurance was given that the matter will be resolved but “nothing was done”, they said.

    “I am a native of Mattan and have been born and brought up here. We did not leave our home. I have a voter slip and an election card, and I have cast my vote before. But it is unfortunate that today I am not able to exercise my right. I am sad,” Tickoo said.

    Deepak Kumar said there are six members in his family but only one was able to cast his vote.

    “It’s clear what is happening with us. I am a resident of Mattan. I have my ration card and all other proofs. We have faced many hardships to survive here. If this is the case, then the government should tell us clearly so that we can migrate to some other place,” Deepak Kumar said, displaying his voter identity card at the polling centre.

    Prominent Kashmiri Pandit leader Ravinder Pandita also expressed surprise over exclusion of names of members of his community from the voters list.

    “…Though there was an exercise to include us in the Kashmir voter list last year, I got only one member out of five. What is the methodology? Disappointed,” Pandita wrote on X.

    He urged the Election commission and the J-K chief electoral officer revise the electoral lists for the forthcoming assembly elections in the Union Territory.

  • 25 May 2024 2:38 PM GMT

    Selfie points, pink booths, creche facilities elevate voting experience

    The specially designed pink and model booths were a hit among the voters, who not only cast their votes with ease but also enjoyed clicking selfies on the polling day.

    A vibrant effort to enhance the voting experience, the polling stations featured model encouragement facilities, including pink sofas, spacious waiting areas with water fans, pitcher water, colourful rangoli, beautiful hanging decorations, selfie booths, carpets and wheelchairs to help the disabled.

    Speaking about the pink booth arrangement, Priyanka Vajpayee, a voter, said, “I was surprised when I entered the booth because it was not like the last time. It was all decorated with flowers and balloons.” The pink booth was managed by female staff and it was decorated with lots of cutouts, motivational quotes and beautification work to enthuse people.

    Talking about the decoration, another voter Geeta said, “The booth is so colourful that it feels like we are here to attend a cultural programme, giving us a moment of joy as we participate in the election. These new booths are adding extra excitement to the election.” At some polling stations in Matia Mahal, soft toys and souvenirs were also given to the voters as tokens of appreciation.

    Additionally, mugs with the message “Am I a proud voter” were given to the voters who exercised their voting rights.

    On the other hand, model booth selfie corners were overloaded with people getting clicked on the selfie points right after performing their voting duty.

    Speaking about the selfie stand at the CPWD Service Centre in North Avenue, where the centre was decorated with colourful fabrics and flowers, another voter Anuradha said, “Voting is our responsibility and we step out to fulfil that. But seeing this arrangement has filled us with excitement. Well managed. It was a swift voting experience for me. I have been casting my vote for 15 years. It is well coordinated this time.”

    On the other hand, there are seven PWD polling stations which was managed by the PWD staff.

    A long carpet stretched from outside the centre to the polling room in the model polling station, adorned with long-hanging decorative pieces.

    Talking about the experience at these special booths, Ashok Kumar, a handicapped voter, said these special arrangements have made the voting exercise easy and convenient.

    “But voting is our power, so we should not think about being in comfort. The booths are near our house and there are arrangements to give you some comfort. So, when we have such an important power to choose who will rule over us, we should come forward to vote and elect our candidates,” Kumar said.

    “And now there are so many facilities here to give you convenience. If we can step out with the support of my family and wheelchair, why can’t others?” he asked.

    Rakesh and Sanyam, who were blind, came to cast their votes in Kalkaji. “It took us less than five minutes to cast our votes,” Rakesh told PTI.

    Shaded areas were set up at each polling station due to the heat and the waiting areas were fully covered. Coolers and fans have been installed to mitigate any discomfort.

    Additionally, at a polling centre in Narela, which falls under the Northwest constituency, the commission had set up a creche for the children below five years, coming with their parents.

    An Angwanwadi worker, Geeta, posted at the centre told PTI that 39 children have come so far. “We note down the names of the parents and their contact numbers. The children play here, sing poems and narrate stories.”

  • 25 May 2024 2:33 PM GMT

    Voters claim names missing from list

    Some electors in Delhi found their names missing from the voters’ list on Saturday, even as they claimed that their documents were in order.

    Younus Salim and Azim Khan, employees at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, went to exercise their franchise at Dr Rajendra Prasad Kendriya Vidyalaya in the President’s Estate, only to find their names missing from the voters’ list.

    “My husband’s name is missing from the list. I have cast my vote and even my children could cast their votes,” said Shakeela Khan, Azim Khan’s wife.

    “We were here to vote for a change in the country but my name was not there in the list. Only my name was missing while the names of my family members were there. I have valid documents. We cannot exercise our right in a democracy,” Azim Khan said.

    Salim showed his Aadhaar card and voter card.

    “I had cast my vote in the 2022 MCD polls. How is it that my name is not there in the voters’ list? We are employees here,” he said.

    Shahnawaz Ahmed, a carpenter in northwest Delhi, had a similar story to narrate.

    He had to return without casting his vote at a polling booth in Jahangirpuri. Ahmed was accompanied to the polling booth by one of his female relatives who could cast her vote as her name was there in the list.

    “I am carrying my Aadhaar card. The polling agents here are saying that I cannot vote as my name is not there in the voters’ list,” Ahmed said.

  • 25 May 2024 2:13 PM GMT

  • 25 May 2024 1:32 PM GMT

  • 25 May 2024 1:02 PM GMT

  • 25 May 2024 12:43 PM GMT

    6 hurt in clash outside polling station in Poonch

    Six persons, including four women, suffered minor injuries in a clash between supporters of two candidates outside a polling station in Mendhar sub-division in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district on Saturday, officials said.

    However, the voting at the polling station in the Shahpur sector continued without any disruption as police intervened and separated the clashing groups, they said.

    An FIR was registered by police and further investigation is on, the officials said.

    Poonch is part of the Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary constituency where polling is underway in the sixth phase on Saturday.

    “It is hereby clarified that a minor scuffle took place outside the polling station causing very minor injuries to a few persons. The altercation was stopped in time and an FIR has been lodged in the matter. Polling did not get interrupted at any time and went on smoothly,” the office of deputy commissioner, Poonch, said on X.

  • 25 May 2024 12:42 PM GMT

    Proud kids on 'election duty'

    “They blessed me and thanked me,” says 13-year-old Kamal who along with his seniors from school helped the elderly and physically challenged reach polling booths to cast their vote in the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi.

    The Class 8 student was among the many volunteers from government schools deployed by the election authority at polling centres in the national capital to help voters. Kamal, one of the youngest in the lot, was stationed at a centre in Uttam Nagar in West Delhi constituency.

    For them, it was a proud moment as even though they are not yet 18 years old and eligible to vote, they were part of “election duty”.

    “They blessed me and thanked me as I provided them wheelchairs to reach the booth from the polling centre's gate,” said Kamal, who underwent a one-day training held by officials recently on how to help the elderly and people with disabilities.

    One could easily spot these volunteers at polling centres as they wore a white coloured T-shirt with the Election Commission’s logo printed on it. “I came here at 7 am and helped many people,” Kamal said.

    Rishi Kumar, another volunteer, said like him, many of his classmates were also deployed in different polling centres. In another polling centre in Matiala, Class 12 students Harshita, Shivani and Silky Singh from the Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya felt “proud” to be on “election duty”.

    “We came at 6 am. My parents were happy to send me for this duty,” Harshita said. Alok Kumar, a Class 9 student of a government school in Harkesh Nagar who was volunteering at a polling centre in Kalkaji, said, “We helped the elderly by guiding them to wheelchairs, telling people about their polling booths and helping people without voting slips.”

    “In the morning, there were long queues but by afternoon the number of people coming to the centre reduced,” Kumar said. Hot weather conditions prevailed in the city throughout the day.

    Class 12 students Rashmi and Ankit Ojha volunteering at polling centres at Mandir Marg and Pusp Vihar, respectively, said they performed their responsibilities and were proud to help.

  • 25 May 2024 12:39 PM GMT

  • 25 May 2024 12:39 PM GMT

Read More
Next Story