Third phase of Lok Sabha polls see over 66% voter turnout

The third and largest phase of Lok Sabha polls, covering 303 of the total 543 parliamentary constituencies, got over on Tuesday with about 66 per cent voting across 117 seats in 13 states and two union territories.

The polling, which was marred by violence in West Bengal, was comparatively subdued with the poll percentage showing a drop from 69.3 per cent in 2014.
The constituencies that went to poll included key seats like Gandhinagar in Gujarat from where BJP president Amit Shah is contresting and Wynad in kerala from where Congress president Rahul Gandhi is contesting.
The third phase of polling covered the whole of Gujarat and Kerala and half of Karnataka, Parts of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Assam, Bihar and West Bengal and a lone constituency in Tripura.
In Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP is fighting the Mahagathbandhan, polling percentage saw a slight drop – from 61.48 per cent to 60.52 per cent in 10 seats across the western region.
In five eastern and north eastern States, voting took place for 21 seats, including six Lok Sabha seats in Odisha, four constituencies in Assam, five seats each in Bihar and West Bengal and a lone constituency in Tripura. Polling was also underway in 42 Assembly constituencies in Odisha along with the Lok Sabha polls. High voting percentage and violence with a Congress activist reportedly being killed outside a polling booth in Murshidabad marked polling for five seats in West Bengal.
The BJP is hoping to make inroads in at least one, Balurghat where the polling percentage had already reached 80.98 per cent by 5 pm, among the five seats that polled. In rest of the four seats, the contest was mainly between the Congress and the Trinamool Congress. In Congress stronghold of Malda, which was represented for years by the strong Abdul Ghani Khan Chowdhury, the TMC had weaned away the Congress’s sitting MP Mausam Noor from Malda(North) seat. The ruling party in the State was claiming victory in this as well as the Mada(South) seat. In Jangipur, former President Pranab Mukherjee’s son Abhijit Mukherjee was locked in a close contest with the TMC. The TMC also claimed that it was snatching the Murshidabad seat from the CPI(M). In Bengal, the voting percentage stood at 69.36 at 6.45 pm.
In Kerala, where polling took place for all the 20 seats, the voting percentage was high, having crossed 74 per cent till 6.30 pm and people were still standing in queues. Congress President Rahul Gandhi is contesting from Wayanad which set a record for itself with 76 per cent till 6.30 pm. Polling here was 73.28 per cent in 2014.
Polling on all 26 parliamentary constituencies in Gujarat concluded peacefully with voter turnout inching closer to what was seen in 2014. As per the provisional turnout figures till 6 pm, the overall turnout stood at nearly 62.36 per cent, slightly lower than 63.3 per cent reported in 2014, when the ruling BJP had a clean sweep by winning all 26 seats.
An estimated 60.42 per cent voter turnout was reported tentatively in 14 Lok Sabha constituencies of Karnataka, for which polls were held on Tuesday, with the Congress-JD(S) alliance and BJP locked in a fierce contest.
Shimoga, where state BJP chief and former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa’s son B Y Raghavendra is pitted against another former Chief Minister S Bangarappa’s son Madhu, recorded the highest turnout of about 68.39 per cent, poll officials said.
The lowest was reported in Raichur with 51.75 per cent, they said, giving the polling percentage till 5 PM, which is expected to go up further in the final tally. In Gulbarga, a key constituency where Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge is pitted against Umesh Jadhav of BJP, 52.18 per cent voting has taken place so far.