63% voting in sixth phase
New Delhi: Sporadic violence in Bengal and allegations of malfunctioning electronic voting machines in Delhi marked the sixth round of the election, which took place for 59 seats across seven states. The overall turnout was 63.3 per cent.
Elections were held in 14 seats in Uttar Pradesh, 10 seats in Haryana, eight constituencies each in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, four in Jharkhand and seven seats in Delhi where votes were cast by a number of public figures, including President Ram Nath Kovind, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
With Sunday's polling, votes have already been cast in nearly 89 per cent of the 543 constituencies, while the last phase of voting will take place on May 19 for the remaining 59 seats.
The Election Commission (EC) announced 63.3 per cent turnout across the states and Delhi,
with West Bengal recording over 80 per cent
polling and the national capital registering just 60 per cent.
Union ministers Radha Mohan Singh, Harsh Vardhan and Maneka Gandhi, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Congress leaders Digvijay Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sheila Dikshit as also celebrity contestants Gautam Gambhir, Vijender Singh, Dinesh Lal Yadav 'Nirahua', Ravi Kishan and Hans Raj Hans were among several prominent faces in the fray.
Delhi saw a dip in its turnout from 65 per cent in 2014, despite a three-pronged contest between the BJP, Congress and AAP with several high
profile candidates, while the EC also appeared despondent at the low polling figure even after its concerted efforts to draw the voters to polling booths.
In the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, 54 per cent polling was reported in 14 constituencies. SP president Akhilesh Yadav and Maneka Gandhi are in the fray in the state that sends 80 members to Lok Sabha.
In Badohi, BJP MLA Dinanath Bhaskar and four others allegedly beat up a presiding officer in the Aurai assembly segment, accusing the official of deliberately slowing the polling process.
In Azamgarh, Akhilesh is trying to retain his father and SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav's seat against Bhojpuri film star 'Nirahua' of the BJP
In Bihar, around 59.38 per cent turnout was recorded for the eight Lok Sabha seats.
In Sheohar Lok Sabha constituency, a polling officer was killed at a booth in a freak incident of firing by a home guard before polling started.
Haryana recorded around 66.30 per cent turnout in 10 Lok Sabha seats and officials said no untoward incident was reported and polling remained peaceful in the state.
In Jharkhand, an estimated 64.46 per cent turnout was recorded for four Lok Sabha seat and officials said no untoward incident was reported.
Madhya Pradesh, which recorded 59.96 per cent turnout, saw several heavyweights contesting the polls.
In Bhopal, Congress veteran Digvijay Singh was locked in a battle with BJP candidate and 2008 Malegaon blast accused Pragya Singh Thakur.
Congress general secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia, who is seeking re-election from Guna seat, is locked in a battle with BJP's K P Yadav.
Former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his family members exercised their franchise at their native village Jait.