In spite of sporadic incidents of violence and vandalism, West Bengal on Monday registered highest turnout in the first four hours as over 27 per cent voting was recorded in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections across 51 constituencies in seven states, the Voter Turnout App data of the Election Commission (EC) showed.
West Bengal recorded 33.57 per cent turnout followed by Madhya Pradesh (29.71 per cent), Jharkhand (29.49 per cent), Rajasthan (29.38 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (22.96 per cent), Bihar (20.74 per cent) and Jammu and Kashmir (6.09 per cent).
In the first two hours till 9 a.m., over 12 per cent voting was recorded.
After voting began at 7 a.m., voters in Uttar Pradesh faced EVM glitches as also many in Rajasthan, where some villages boycotted the polling process over development issue.
A total of over 8.75 crore electorate mostly from the Hindi heartland are voting in this phase. It covers the remaining 12 constituencies in Rajasthan; 14 in Uttar Pradesh, including the high-profile Amethi, Rae Bareli and Lucknow seats; five in Bihar; seven each in West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh; four in Jharkhand; and two in Jammu and Kashmir, including Anantnag, where the third and final phase of polling is underway.
In the 2014 elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had won 39 of these 51 seats — all 12 in Rajasthan, 12 of 14 in Uttar Pradesh, seven in Madhya Pradesh, three of five in Bihar, all four in Jharkhand and one of two in Jammu and Kashmir.
Among the 674 candidates in this phase, prominent ones include Congress president Rahul Gandhi from his traditional Amethi constituency where he faces Union Minister Smriti Irani, his mother and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi from neighbouring Rae Bareli, and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who faces actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha’s wife Poonam Sinha (Samajwadi Party) in Lucknow.
Also contesting are Union Ministers Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who faces fellow Olympian Krishna Poonia in Jaipur (Rural), Jayant Sinha (Hazaribagh), former Union Minister Dinesh Trivedi (Trinamool Congress) in Barrackpore, and actress-turned-BJP leader Locket Chatterjee in Hooghly.