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LS polls phase 4: Over 62% turnout till 5 pm; violence in Andhra, Bengal

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Kashmiri Pandits stand in a queue to cast their vote during the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections, at Roopnagar in Jammu district, Monday, May 13, 2024

New Delhi: A voter turnout of more than 62 per cent was recorded till 5 pm on Monday in the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha polls in 96 constituencies spread over 10 states and Union Territories amid incidents of violence in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.

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According to the Election Commission, a voting percentage of 62.31 was recorded till 5 pm. The voting will continue till 6 pm.

Jammu and Kashmir witnessed the lowest voting percentage till 5 pm with 35.75 per cent of voters exercising their franchise, while West Bengal recorded the highest with 75.66 per cent.

Among other states, Andhra Pradesh recorded 68.04 per cent polling, Bihar 54.14 per cent, Jharkhand 63.14 per cent, Madhya Pradesh 68.01 per cent, Maharashtra 52.49 per cent, Odisha 62.96 per cent, Telangana 61.16 per cent and Uttar Pradesh 56.35 per cent.

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BJP candidate in Telangana's Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat K Madhavi Latha was booked by election authorities after a video clip surfaced online in which she was purportedly seen asking burqa-clad women voters to show their faces to compare with the photo identity cards.

In Andhra Pradesh, the TDP and YSRCP traded charges and accused each other of resorting to violence, especially in Palnadu, Kadapa and Annamayya districts. YSRCP also wrote to the EC, alleging poll code violations by rival TDP in several assembly segments, including Vemuru, Darsi, Icchapuram, Kuppam, Macherla, Markapuram, Palakonda and Pedakurapaudu.

Polling for 175 Assembly seats and 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in the coastal state is taking place simultaneously.

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The YSRCP alleged that TDP leaders captured five polling booths in the Vemuru constituency as it requested additional police forces and immediate action. The ruling party also claimed that the polling officer of booth number 57 in Kuppam colluded with the opposition TDP leaders to allow them to rig elections.

YSRCP leader and Tenali MLA A Shiva Kumar allegedly manhandled a voter in Tenali following an argument, police said, adding the voter also retaliated.

At Dalavaipalli village in Railway Kodur constituency, an EVM was destroyed while cars belonging to the ruling party and TDP were damaged, a police official said. A TDP agent was attacked at Nakkaladinne village in Myduruku constituency, leading to his hospitalisation.

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The YSRCP alleged that party agent Suresh Reddy was stabbed at Mandi Krishnapuram village in Chittoor's Gudipala mandal. It also alleged that TDP supporters attacked party member B Anji Reddy at Aravallipadu in the Darsi constituency.

TDP MLC Mohammed Ahmed Shariff wrote a letter to Chief Electoral Officer Mukesh Kumar Meena, complaining about alleged attacks by YSRCP cadres on TDP supporters at Rentala village in Rentichintala mandal of Palnadu district.

TDP activists allegedly damaged the vehicle of senior YSRCP leader Nandigam Suresh, the YSRCP said in a statement. It further alleged that TDP supporters attacked party member B Anji Reddy at Aravallipadu in the Darsi constituency, resulting in a head injury.

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Meanwhile, TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu alleged that there was "no peaceful atmosphere in the state for people to exercise their franchise".

"I severely condemn the violence reported since morning. YSRCP is implementing its plots in a concerted manner. Local police officials failed in averting violence in Macherla constituency," he said in a post on 'X'.

In Uttar Pradesh, there were instances of poll boycotts with people in some villages of Shahjahanpur keeping away from the process to protest against the lack of roads and development.

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Sporadic incidents of violence marred the fourth phase of Lok Sabha polls in the eight parliamentary constituencies of West Bengal as TMC and BJP workers clashed in various areas under Birbhum and Bardhaman-Durgapur Lok Sabha seats.

Although the poll panel claimed that voting in the state has been peaceful, it received 1,088 complaints from different political parties alleging EVM malfunctioning and agents being stopped from entering booths.

Stones were thrown at the BJP's Bardhaman-Durgapur candidate Dilip Ghosh's convoy in two places. Ghosh was also heckled by TMC activists, sources claimed.

In Nanoor under Birbhum Lok Sabha seat, BJP workers clashed with TMC activists after saffron party polling agents were allegedly stopped from entering booths.

Tension also prevailed in Chapra area of Krishnanagar constituency as BJP workers were allegedly beaten by TMC activists. BJP candidate Amrita Roy accompanied two injured persons to Chapra police station. The TMC has denied the allegations.

The TMC, BJP, and Congress-CPI (M) alliance lodged separate complaints of poll violence, voter intimidation and assaults on poll agents in the first few hours of polling, sources said.

EVM glitches were also reported in several places in Odisha. An official said 65 Ballot Units, 83 Control Units and 110 VVPATs have been replaced so far and most of the replacements were done during the mock poll exercise before starting of real voting at 7 am.

The Election Commission suspended two polling officials in Odisha for dereliction of duty, the chief electoral officer said.

In Jharkhand, security forces thwarted an attempt by Maoists to obstruct voter access to polling booths by felling a tree and blocking a road leading to remote Sonapi and Morangponga areas of West Singhbhum district.

Voting was peaceful in Jammu and Kashmir where three generations of the Abdullah family cast their vote in the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency.

Polling has been held in all 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana, all 25 seats in Andhra Pradesh, 13 in Uttar Pradesh, five in Bihar, four in Jharkhand, eight in Madhya Pradesh, 11 in Maharashtra, four in Odisha, eight in West Bengal and one in Jammu and Kashmir.

Till phase three of the Lok Sabha elections, polling was held in 283 seats out of 543. After today's round, polling will conclude in 379 seats.

The voter turnout in the first three phases of the Lok Sabha elections was 66.14 per cent, 66.71 per cent and 65.68 per cent, respectively.

Polling for the next three phases in the country will be held on May 20, May 25 and June 1. The counting of votes is on June 4.

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