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Moderate to brisk polling in fifth phase of LS elections

ANI | Updated: May 06, 2019 18:22 IST

New Delhi [India], May 6 (ANI): Moderate to brisk polling was recorded on Monday in 51 constituencies spread across seven states in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections, with West Bengal leading the tally.
The fate of several key leaders including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Union Minister Smriti Irani will be decided in this phase.
Fourteen seats in Uttar Pradesh, 12 in Rajasthan, seven each in West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh, five in Bihar and four in Jharkhand went to polls in addition to Ladakh and Anantnag constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir.
Till 5 pm, a voter turnout of nearly 70 per cent was recorded in West Bengal, 60 in Jharkhand, 58 in Madhya Pradesh, 56 in Rajasthan, 50 in UP, 41 in Bihar and 17 in J and K, according to the Election Commission.
In West Bengal, BJP accused TMC supporters of resorting to rigging during polling for the Barrackpore seat and demanded re-election in the entire constituency. BJP candidate Arjun Singh was allegedly thrashed by TMC supporters. There were reports of clashes between TMC workers and security personnel in Howrah.
One person was arrested for damaging an electronic voting machine (EVM) in Chhapra in Bihar.
This phase is important for BJP in UP since it had won 12 out of the 14 seats in the 2014 general elections. The party faced a combined challenge from SP, BSP, and RLD, which had contested separately last time.
Out of the 51 constituencies, BJP had also won 27 seats in 2014 - 12 in Rajasthan, 7 in MP, 4 in Jharkhand, 3 in Bihar, besides the Ladakh seat.
In Amethi, Rahul Gandhi is pitted against BJP nominee Smriti Irani who was defeated by the Congress leader in 2014 elections.
Sonia Gandhi, who is seeking re-election from the Raebareli seat, is contesting against BJP's Dinesh Pratap Singh among other candidates.
BJP's Rajnath Singh, SP-BSP-RLD's Poonam Sinha and Congress' Pramod Krishnam are in the fray from Lucknow.
Union ministers Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Arjun Ram Meghwal and Jayant Sinha, all from BJP, are contesting from Jaipur Rural and Bikaner in Rajasthan and Hazaribagh in Jharkhand, respectively.
Also in the fray are Congress leader Jitin Prasad from Dhaurahra in UP and BJP's Rajiv Pratap Rudi from Saran in Bihar.
In Jharkhand, two former chief ministers Babulal Marandi, the leader of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik), and Arjun Munda of BJP are contesting from the Koderma and Khunti seats respectively.
Union Minister Virendra Kumar is locked in a three-cornered contest in Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh. He is pitted against Kiran Ahirwar of Congress and R D Prajapati of SP.
Former railway minister and TMC candidate Dinesh Trivedi is fighting against Arjun Singh of BJP and Gargi Chatterjee of CPI (M) from Barrackpore in West Bengal. Singh, a four-time TMC MLA, had switched to BJP after Trivedi's nomination from the seat.
Over 8.75 crore voters were eligible to cast their ballot to decide the fate of 674 candidates across the country. As many as 96,000 polling stations were set up, according to the poll body.
Campaigning for the fifth phase of the elections ended on Saturday evening.
The first four phases of the polls were held on April 11, 18, 23 and 29. After the fifth phase, the next two phases are scheduled on May 12 and May 19 respectively. The counting of votes is scheduled on May 23. (ANI)