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Voting concludes for Lok Sabha Elections

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Lok Sabha elections Voter

New Delhi, May 19: Voting in 542 parliamentary constituencies across states and union territories concluded, the election commission said on Sunday.

The 59 Lok Sabha constituencies spanning seven states and a Union Territory went to polls in the final and seventh phase of the mega electoral exercise on Sunday.

As per the poll panel, 7.27 crore people voted in the last phase of polling of which 3.47 crore were women and 3,377 were persons of third gender.

A total electorate of more than 10.1 crore were eligible to cast their ballots in this phase which covers all remaining seats in the three states — Uttar Pradesh (13, including the high-profile Varanasi constituency), Bihar (8) and West Bengal (9) – where polling took place across all seven phases, as well as in Madhya Pradesh (8) and Jharkhand (3) which also witnessed multi-stage voting.

All the 13 constituencies in Punjab, one in Chandigarh, and four in Himachal Pradesh also figure in the last phase.

The 918 candidates in this phase include Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who faces actor-politician and sitting MP Shatrughan Sinha (now in the Congress) in Patna Sahib, and actor-turned-politicians Sunny Deol in Gurdaspur (BJP), and Mimi Chakraborty and Nusrat Jahan, both contesting for the Trinamool Congress (TMC) from Jadavpur and Basirhat, respectively.

Also contesting are Union Ministers Hardeep Singh Puri (Amritsar), Manoj Sinha (Ghazipur), R.K. Singh (Arrah) — all from BJP, Anupriya Patel of Apna Dal (Mirzapur) Harsimrat Kaur from ally Akali Dal in Bathinda and her husband and party President Sukhbir Singh Badal in Ferozepur, former Union Minister Preneet Kaur (Congress) in Patiala, and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad’s eldest daughter Misa Bharti (Patliputra).

Re-polling is also taking place in several booths in parliamentary seats in six states and in Assembly constituencies in two. These seats ares Kerala’s Kannur and Kasargod, Tamil Nadu’s Dharmapuri, Theni, Thiruvallur, Cuddalore and Erode, Haryana’s Faridabad, Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh, West Bengal’s Bankura, Andhra Pradesh’s Chittoor parliamentary and Chandgiri Assembly constituencies and 34 Assembly segments in 10 Odisha districts.

Besides this, polling is also being held in bypolls to four Assembly seats in Tamil Nadu, two in Karnataka and the Panaji Assembly seat, which fell vacant after death of Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.

The Lok Sabha elections started on April 11. Counting of votes to take place on May 23.

Updates:

60.21% voter turnout recorded till 6 pm

Polling in 542 parliamentary constituencies across states and union territories ends

53.03% voter turnout recorded till 5 pm

51.95% voter turnout recorded till 3 pm

39.85% voter turnout recorded till 1 pm

BJP leader Murali Manohar Joshi casts vote

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh casts Vote

Congress’s candidate from Patna Sahib Lok Sabha Constituency, Shatrughan Sinha casts his vote

Tej Pratap alleges conspiracy to kill him, Files FIR after attack on his car

1st Voter of Independent India Shyam Saran Negi casts vote

Union Minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad casts his vote at booth no. 77 in Patna Women’s College

CM Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and TMC leader, Abhishek Banerjee casts his vote

Kolkata North BJP candidate Rahul Sinha casts his vote at polling booth in Bijoygarh Shikshaniketan For Girls, in Jadavpur

Voting underway for by-election to the Sulur assembly constituency

EVM malfunction reported at booth no.6 in Pant Nagar of Patna Sahib

Bihar Deputy CM Sushil Modi casts vote

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar casts vote , says elections should not be held over such a long duration

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath exercises his franchise

People queue up outside polling station no.36, 37, 38 and 39 in Jharkhand’s Dumka Lok Sabha constituency

Visuals from polling booth no.153 in Kolkata Dakshin Lok Sabha Constituency

Visuals of preparation from polling booth no. 321-325 in Indore’s Nanda Nagar

Visuals from polling booth no.25, 26, 27 at DAV Senior Secondary School in Punjab

Election

Ahead of DDC polls, BJP targets Abdullahs over ‘land grab’

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Farooq Abdullah

New Delhi: Ahead of the District Development Council (DDC) polls in Jammu and Kashmir beginning Saturday, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad trained his guns on the Abdullahs for their alleged role in the Roshni scam.

Prasad alleged that the key leaders of the erstwhile state, including Farooq Abdullah, used their “influence and power for land grabbing”.

“In 1998, Farooq Abdullah had purchased 3 kanals of land but he encroached upon 7 kanals of land which were double the size of the purchase,” Prasad alleged while speaking to the media. He further said that under the Roshni scam, the name of Farooq Abdullah’s sister Suraiya Mattu has also appeared, who, the minister alleged, is also a beneficiary of 3 kanals of land.

“There was a conscious land loot by the powerful people of J&K who were getting benefits under the Roshni Act which was declared unconstitutional by the J&K High Court. This is low level politics by the powerful people of J&K and we condemn it,” alleged Prasad.

Prasad said the J&K High Court has declared the Roshni Act as unconstitutional and has stated that the names of people who have acquired land under this Act should be listed and made public.

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CPI-M and Cong holding talks, to rally in Kolkata on Nov 23

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has accused AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi of trying to benefit the BJP. Owaisi has denied the charge and maintained that he was running a political party and contest elections wherever the party wishes.

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Congress

New Delhi: A joint rally of the Congress and CPI-M slated to be held on Monday in Kolkata on Monday is a step towards an alliance ahead of the 2021 Assembly elections as informal talks on the issue are on, Congress sources said on Sunday.

The West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee (WBPCC) and the Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M) will rally on November 23 to protest against the alleged ‘anti-people’ policies of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre.

The BJP has already started preparation to take on the ruling Trinamool Congress. The Congress and the Left will face challenges from the TMC, BJP and AIMIM in the state polls.

Party insiders said that both parties will chalk out joint political programmes across various Bengal districts to emerge as a third political alternative in the Assembly polls.

“Both the parties met to prepare the road map for the coming Assembly polls,” the sources said.

CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury has said that defeating the TMC and the BJP is a priority for his party as he blames the TMC for BJP inroads in the eastern state. The West Bengal could see three-cornered contest with AIMIM giving an edge to the BJP, as was seen in Bihar Assembly polls.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen has reportedly offered an alliance with TMC and awaiting a response. Howver, it’s unlikely that the TMC will join hands with AIMIM, considering it will give the BJP an advantage, the sources pointed out.

As many as 90 seats in the 294-member West Bengal Assembly have sizeable Muslim voters, who can be a deciding factor in any poll battle. Even if the AIMIM may not win many seats in Bengal, it can surely play a Bihar-like spoilsport for the TMC and the Congress.

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has accused AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi of trying to benefit the BJP. Owaisi has denied the charge and maintained that he was running a political party and contest elections wherever the party wishes.

Muslims in West Bengal account for 27 per cent of the total voters, a majority of them going along with the TMC and the Congress in the past.

The BJP won 18 Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 general elections and any further division of Muslim votes in Assembly elections will only benefit it.

The districts of Murshidabad, Malda, and North Dinajpur have more than 50 per cent Muslim population while Birbhum, North and South 24 Parganas, Howrah and Nadia have more than 25 per cent Muslims.

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Farooq writes to J-K poll panel: PAGD candidates not allowed to canvass, confined to ‘secure locations’

Meanwhile, the PAGD vice-president and PDP President Mehbooba Mufti also raised the issue and called for the intervention of J&K’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.

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Farooq Abdullah

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and president of newly formed People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) Farooq Abdullah has shot off a letter to J&K Election Commissioner K K Sharma, complaining that the Alliance’s candidates were being denied a level playing field in the upcoming polls for the District Development Councils (DDC) in the name of security.

The letter was sent amid the allegations by the People’s Alliance that the police is preventing its candidates from campaigning by lodging them into “secure” accommodations in the name of security.

“I am taking the liberty of writing to you about the upcoming DDC elections. A strange and a unique feature has come to the fore. Candidates put up by the PAGD are immediately whisked away to ‘secure locations’ in the name of security and confined to those ‘secure locations’,” Abdullah wrote in the letter. “They are not allowed to canvass, they are completely out of touch with those from whom they are supposed to seek votes.”

In his letter, Abdullah has accused the government of “interfering” in the democratic process.

“The current state of affairs in the realm of security is blatantly oriented towards providing security to a select few and confining others,” Abdullah said in an apparent reference to the BJP and PAGD candidates, respectively. “This comes across more as an attempt to interfere in the democratic process than any real concern for the wellbeing of the contestants. Security cannot and should not be used as a tool or an excuse to interfere in democratic processes.”

Abdullah, in his letter, also stated that it was the job of the government to provide security to the candidates contesting the DDC polls.

“Security is a challenge and it is for the government of the day to counter that challenge in a manner which is fair and transparent,” Abdullah said, adding that: “Providing security to a select few and literally interning the rest is a gross interference in democracy.”

Saying that the journey of democracy in J&K is soaked in blood, Abdullah has termed the government “interference” in the polls as “desecration of those sacrifices”.

“May I add that the evolution of democracy in J and K is distinctive compared to any other part of the country. The journey is a bloodied journey, soaked in the blood of thousands of political workers who have laid down their lives for the sake of democracy. It is a desecration of those sacrifices when the very conflict that consumed their lives is used as an alibi to customize democracy,” Abdullah has written.

“Democracy is still in a state of fragility in J and K. Governments come and go. No government has the right to alter the institutional foundations of democracy in J and K, nourished by the sacrifices of thousands of political workers,” he added.

Abdullah said that being in power in the past, they are aware of the security challenges in J&K. “Our parties have been in power in the past and have had the opportunity to head and run the government. We are aware of the challenges posed in the realm of security in a place beset by violence,” the letter read. “These challenges are not new but have been painfully persisting for the last three decades. But the government had structures in place which ensured security for all contestants irrespective of the ideology they espoused or the parties they represented.”

Meanwhile, the PAGD vice-president and PDP President Mehbooba Mufti also raised the issue and called for the intervention of J&K’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.

“GOI sabotaging participation of non-BJP parties in DDC polls. PDPs Bashir Ahmed despite having adequate security has been detained at Pahalgam on the pretext of security. Today is the last day for filing nominations & have spoken to DC Anantnag for his release,” Mufti tweeted.

In the first phase of the DDC elections scheduled to be held on November 28, 167 candidates are in the fray from 10 districts in the Valley. In the second phase, 227 candidates have filed their nomination (subject to scrutiny) papers, and nominations for the third phase are still being received.

The decision of mainstream parties to contest DDC polls is likely to open up political space after almost 15 months since the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and downgrading of the state into two Union Territories last August.

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