Large-scale EVM malfunctioning and BJP candidate’s fear of losing form key highlights of first phase of Lok Sabha polls

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Fresh controversy has marred the first phase of this year’s Lok Sabha elections as voters queue up to cast their votes on 91 seats spread across 20 states. Voters in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha also took part in assembly polls in their states.

first phase

Today’s elections assume significance because of Western Uttar Pradesh’s eight crucial seats, which the BJP had swept in 2014. A fresh controversy has already marred today’s voting in Muzaffarnagar after the sitting BJP MP Sanjeev Balyan alleged that faces of women in burqas were not being checked. He told ANI, “I allege that fake voting is being done. If not looked into, I will demand a repoll.”

Balyan’s fear emanates from the fact that the opposition has fielded a unified candidate in the RLD’s Ajit Singh, who is capable of eating into Balyan’s Jat votes this time around. Singh is backed by the SP and the BSP in this communally sensitive constituency. Jats have traditionally supported Singh and his party, but in 2014, Modi was able to capitalise on the communal sentiments because of the communal riots of 2013, when more than 60 people had died here.

The mood here is of anger towards the BJP because of the growing farmer distress. BJP losing its support base in part of Uttar Pradesh will be a disaster for the saffron party and may destroy its chances of returning to power. Uttar Pradesh had given 73 out of 80 seats to the BJP in 2014.

Eight seats of Uttar Pradesh going to polls today are Noida, Ghaziabad, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Kairana, Saharanpur and Bijnour.

Aside from UP, 175 Assembly seats and 25 Parliamentary seats in Andhra Pradesh also went to polls in a single phase. Both Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh witnessed large-scale malfunctioning of EVMs. While in Uttar Pradesh, some people complained that their votes for the BSP were going to the BJP, there were complaints over 100 EVMs malfunctioning in Andhra.

Among the 91 Lok Sabha seats going for polls today were all 25 seats from Andhra Pradesh, 17 from Telangana, Uttarakhand’s five, two seats each of Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Meghalaya and one seat each of Chhattisgarh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Andaman and Nicobar as well as Lakshadweep.

As many as 14.21 crore voters are likely to take part in the first phase of the polls.

Here are the highlights:

  • Security personnel fired shots in air after some ppl tried to cast vote without voter ID at a polling station in Shamli. District Magistrate says,“BSF personnel, fired in air for security reasons after some ppl without voter ID tried to cast vote. Voting has resumed now.” (ANI)

 

  • Voter turnout till 3 pm in Andhra Pradesh was 55%, in Arunachal Pradesh was 50.87% and in Sikkim was 55%.
  • Voter turnout till 3 pm in Nagaland is 68%, in Telangana is 48.95%, in Assam is 59.5% & in Meghalaya is 55%.

  • BSP writes to EC: We are receiving info from various polling stations that BSP voters specially dalits are being stopped from reaching polling booths by use of force by UP police. All this is apparently being done on diktat of higher-ups. Immediate intervention is required. (ANI)

  • Rakesh Kumar, Bijnor Sector Magistrate on reports that ‘Lotus’ symbol is being displayed after pressing ‘Elephant’ symbol on EVM: No such incident has taken place. Elections are being held peacefully. There were some issues during mock polling so we changed the entire set (ANI)
  • TDP leader S Bhaskar Reddy killed in clashes in Tadipatri town of Anantapur. TDP has alleged that YSRCP workers are behind the incident. (ANI)
  • Bihar: 34.60% voting recorded in Aurangabad, 33% in Gaya, 37% in Nawada and 29% in Jamui, till 1 pm.
  • BR Tiwari, Addl. Chief Election Officer on reports of Namo food packets being distributed in Noida: We came to know about this from media reports. There is a very old shop, more than 10-year-old, which has this brand name. It has been highlighted in a different manner in media (ANI)

  • BR Tiwari, Addl. Chief Election Officer on Sanjiv Balyan alleges ‘women in burkhas aren’t being checked & fake voting is being done:If a woman is in a veil, there are women officials who verify their identity & only then allow them to vote. No such incident has come to our notice (ANI)

  • Uttarakhand: Yog-Guru Ramdev casts his vote at a polling station in Haridwar in the first phase of #IndiaElections2019 (ANI)

  • There are reports of an IED blast near a polling booth in Etapalli in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra.

  • #LokSabhaElections2019 : 18.12% voter turnout recorded till 9 am in West Bengal, 17.5% in Mizoram, 10.2% in Chhattisgarh and 15.6% in Manipur (ANI)
  • Former Chief Minister Harish Rawat queues up to vote in Devalchaur, Haldwani. 
  • Faces of women in burqas are not being checked and I allege that fake voting is being done. If not looked into, I will demand a repoll: Sanjeev Balyan of BJP in Muzaffarnagar to ANI
  • 8.12% voter turnout recorded till 9 am in West Bengal, 17.5% in Mizoram, 10.2% in Chhattisgarh and 15.6% in Manipur- ANI

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