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63.5% turnout in 5th phase

New Delhi: 63.5 per cent people voted in the fifth round of the national election - up from 61.76 in 2014 - that was marked by sporadic incidents in parts of Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir. This phase, the leanest with polling on 51 seats, was crucial in view of the high-profile candidates.

According to the Election Commission, over 57.33 per cent of 2.47 crore eligible people cast their vote in 14 seats in Uttar Pradesh, where political heavyweights like Congress' Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani were in the fray.

In Rajasthan, 63.78 per cent polling was recorded in 12 seats, while it was 63.88 per cent in seven constituencies in Madhya Pradesh, 57.86 per cent five seats in Bihar and 63.72 in four seats in Jharkhand that went to polls on Monday.

The voter turnout was 74.42 in seven seats in West Bengal.

In Jammu and Kashmir, 64 per cent polling was recorded in Ladakh but the turnout was barely three per cent in militancy-infested Shopian and Pulwama districts in the final of the three-phase election to Anantnag constituency held amid militant threats and boycott call by separatists in Kashmir.

Militants lobbed a grenade towards Rohmoo polling station and set off an explosion at another polling booth in Tral in Pulwama but no one was injured in the two incidents.

The overall turnout was 8.76 per cent as against 28.54 per cent in 2014 in Anantnag where 18 candidates are in the fray including PDP president and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti.

In the high profile Amethi seat, Union minister and BJP candidate Smriti Irani alleged that her rival and Congress president Rahul Gandhi was "ensuring booth capturing" and also tagged a video on Twitter in which an elderly women alleged that her hand was forcibly put on 'panja' (hand) election symbol of the Congress. But the Chief Electoral Officer said the matter was "examined thoroughly and found baseless".

The turnout was 53 per cent in Amethi, 53.68 per cent in Raebareli and around 53 per cent in Lucknow. The BJP had bagged 12 of the 14 seats in 2014 with the Congress winning Rae Bareli and Amethi.

Prominent voters in the state capital Lucknow included Home Minister Singh, BSP supremo Mayawati, Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma and BSP general secretary S C Misra.

In Rajasthan, where polling concluded Monday, an overall turnout of 66.12 per cent in 25 seats was recorded in the two phases.

An official said "minor issues related to EVMs were reported at some places" in Madhya Pradesh "but they were sorted out".

Barring a few reports of poll boycott and EVM glitches, voting was largely peaceful in Bihar. One person has been taken into custody in Saran for damaging an EVM which was replaced.

Over 8.75 crore electors were to decide the fate of 674 candidates in the fifth phase Monday. The Election Commission had set up 96,000 polling booths which included the maximum of 28,072 in Uttar Pradesh.

With this phase, the election is over in 424 seats and polling in the remaining 118 seats will be held on May 12 and 19.

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