Over 59 per cent turnout in 6th phase of LS polls, J&K sets another record

Over 59 per cent turnout in 6th phase of LS polls, J&K sets another record. /IANS

New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Over 59 per cent turnout was recorded in 58 seats in 8 states/UTs that went to polls on Saturday in the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha polls, ranging from 78.19 per cent in West Bengal (8 seats) to 53.30 per cent in Bihar, while J&K’s Anantnag-Rajouri seat logged 52.28 per cent – the highest in several decades, the Election Commission said.

The approximate turnout, as of 7.45 p.m., was 59.06 per cent, the poll panel said, adding that “in spite of hot weather in certain parts of the country, voters were undeterred in their enthusiasm as they were seen queuing up patiently to cast their votes across the country”.

“A large number of voters were still in the queue at some polling stations at the prescribed time of closing of poll,” it added.

The turnout in other states/UTs was 62.74 per cent in Jharkhand (4 seats), 60.07 per cent in Odisha (6 seats), 58.37 per cent in Haryana (10 seats), 54.48 per cent in Delhi (7 seats), and 54.03 per cent in UP (14 seats).

The Election Commission said that the turnout would continue to be updated state/PC/AC wise on its Voter Turnout App of ECI, and another update will be released around 11.45 p.m.

A total of 889 candidates were in the electoral fray, including Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan from Odisha’s Sambalpur, former Union Maneka Gandhi from UP’s Sultanpur, former Calcutta High Court judge Abhijit Gangophadhyay from West Bengal’s Tamluk, industrialist Naveen Jindal from Haryana’s Kurukshetra (all BJP), Kumari Selja from Haryana’s Sirsa, Deepender Singh Hooda from Haryana’s Rohtak, J.P. Agarwal from Delhi’s Chandni Chowk (all Congress), PDP President and former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti (Anantnag-Rajouri), and actor-politician Deepak Adhikari Dev from West Bengal’s Ghatal (Trinamool Congress).

Other prominent contests included Union Minister Sushma Swaraj’s daughter Bansuri Swaraj making her electoral debut from New Delhi against Aam Aadmi Party’s Somnath Bharti, Congress’ Raj Babbar taking on Union Minister and sitting MP Rao Inderjit Singh in Gurgaon, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s cousin Dharmendra Yadav against sitting BJP MP Dinesh Lal Yadav ‘Nirhua’ in Azamgarh.

In Delhi, President Droupadi Murmu, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, former President Ram Nath Kovind, CJI D.Y Chandrachud, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Congress leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, CEC Rajiv Kumar and ECs Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, cricketer Kapil Dev, actress Chitrangda Singh were among those who cast their votes.

Polling in the Anantnag-Rajouri seat, where elections were deferred from the third phase on May 7, in Jammu and Kashmir was completely peaceful, with enthusiastic voters, taking the turnout to the highest in many decades. The other two seats of the Kashmir Valley – Srinagar (38.49 per cent), and Baramulla (59.1 per cent) – also recorded turnouts which were highest in many decades.

With this phase, Delhi, Haryana, and J&K joined the 25 states/UTs where polling has already been concluded in the earlier phases and the number of parliamentary seats where the fate of the candidates has been sealed in the EVMs has reached 486.

Polling for the remaining 57 seats, in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Odisha, as well as Punjab, Chandigarh, and Himachal Pradesh, will be held on June 1.

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