Lok sabha elections 2024: Phase-1 sees 62% turnout; violence mars polling in West Bengal, Manipur : The Tribune India

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Lok sabha elections 2024: Phase-1 sees 62% turnout; violence mars polling in West Bengal, Manipur

Tripura leads with 80% | Bihar at bottom with 48.5% | Eastern Nagaland boycotts poll

Lok sabha elections 2024: Phase-1 sees 62% turnout; violence mars polling in West Bengal, Manipur

People wait in queues to cast their vote during the first phase of elections at a polling station in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar on Friday. PTI



Tribune News Service

Animesh Singh

New Delhi, April 19

Over 62 per cent polling was recorded across 102 seats in 21 states and UTs in the first phase of polling for the Lok Sabha elections by the time voting ended at 6 pm today amid reports of sporadic violence in West Bengal and strife-torn Manipur, while no voting was recorded in eastern Nagaland after a shutdown call given by a separatist group, the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO).

Gadkari, Rijiju, Meghwal’s fate sealed

  • Union ministers Nitin Gadkari (Nagpur), Kiren Rijiju (Arunachal West), Arjun Ram Meghwal (Bikaner), Bhupendra Yadav (Alwar), Sanjeev Balyan (Muzaffarnagar), Jitendra Singh (Udhampur) were in fray
  • So were ex-CMs Biplab Kumar Deb (Tripura), Nabam Tuki (Arunachal)

Voters, poll agents ‘threatened’ in Manipur

  • West Bengal recorded 77.5 per cent voting with incidents of violence reported from Cooch Behar
  • Incidents of shooting, damage to EVMs, threats to voters and agents reported from Manipur

Tripura recorded the highest voter turnout of 80 per cent, while Bihar witnessed the lowest turnout of 48.5 per cent.

West Bengal recorded 77.5 per cent voting with violent incidents reported from Cooch Behar, which was among the three seats from the state which went to the polls on Friday apart from Jalpaiguri and Alipurduars.

In Manipur too, which has been in the throes of ethnic violence between the Meitei and Kuki communities since May last year, violent incidents were reported from several booths.

With the first phase of polling culminating on Friday, the one-and-a-half-month-long exercise began to elect the 18th Lok Sabha. The elections will be held in seven phases with the counting of votes set to take place on June 4.

Election Commission of India sources said the polling percentage was likely to go up once the final figures arrived by Saturday.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged voters to exercise their franchise in record numbers. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge asked voters to cast their ballot carefully and wrote on X that “the fight to protect our Constitution and democracy begins today”. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also appealed to voters to open “mohabbat ki dukaan” in every corner of the country.

Meanwhile, in Nagaland, which has one parliamentary constituency, polling personnel in six eastern districts of the state waited for nine hours in the booths, but not one of the four lakh voters of the region turned up following a shutdown call given by an organisation to press for its demand for Frontier Nagaland Territory, agencies reported.

The ENPO is the apex body of seven tribal organisations of the eastern region.

Officials said there was no movement of people or vehicles on major streets in eastern Nagaland except those of the district administration and other emergency services.

Of the 13.25 lakh voters in Nagaland, the six districts in eastern Nagaland have four lakh voters.

Meanwhile, incidents of shooting, damage to EVMs, threats to voters and polling agents by armed miscreants and alleged rigging marked the first phase of polling in strife-torn Manipur on Friday.

Voting took place in the Inner Manipur parliamentary seat and a portion of the Outer Manipur seat in the first phase. Voting for the remaining areas of the Outer Manipur seat will be held in the second phase on April 26.

Gunfire broke out near a polling station at Thamanpokpi in Bishnupur. There were reports that three persons were injured in the shooting. However, police and election officials did not confirm the news.

Manipur has been rocked by ethnic clashes between Meiteis, who are dominant in the Imphal valley, and the tribal Kuki-Zo communities, who are a majority in a few hill districts, since May last year. The violence has claimed 221 lives and displaced around 50,000.

Incidents of EVMs being damaged by members of the public were also reported on social media. A radical Meitei outfit, Arambai Tenggol, which has been accused on social media platforms of orchestrating Friday’s violence, issued a statement denying its role and claimed the organisation’s name was being misused. It stated that acts of violence might have been perpetrated by workers and supporters of candidates.

Meanwhile, there were complaints of violence, intimidation and assault in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar, Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri as they went to the polls, according to media reports.

Both BJP and Trinamool Congress (TMC) accused each other of hurting their poll agents and workers and disrupting the electoral process in the state.

Minister of State for Home in the NDA government, Nisith Pramanik, who is the sitting MP from Coochbehar and is seeking re-election, claimed that the violence had been perpetrated by TMC workers in the area.

Among the top leaders in the fray in the first phase were union ministers Nitin Gadkari (Nagpur), Kiren Rijiju (Arunachal Pradesh West), Arjun Ram Meghwal (Bikaner), Bhupendra Yadav (Alwar), Sanjeev Balyan (Muzaffarnagar) and Jitendra Singh (Udhampur).

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Bihar #Lok Sabha #Manipur #West Bengal


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