(Photo: HT)
(Photo: HT)

Final phase sees 64.11% voter turnout in 59 constituencies

  • Seven-phase elections draw to a close, all eyes on 23 May when the fate of 8,049 candidates will be known
  • Bengal saw the highest turnout at 73.51% among 8 states and UTs that went to polls on Sunday

NEW DELHI : Polling for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections drew to an end on Sunday, more than a month after the seven-phase elections began, with electors in 542 parliamentary constituencies voting to elect their representatives.

The only exception was Vellore in Tamil Nadu, where polling was cancelled as money was allegedly being used to influence voters.

“Barring some odd incidents here and there, that too in such a vast country which ours is with multi-fold formidable challenges... thanks to the wisdom and maturity of all the stakeholders the elections to 17th Lok Sabha, General Assemblies of some states and some bye-elections passed peacefully and were conducted in free, fair, robust and ethical manner," Sunil Arora, chief election commissioner said on Sunday.

Photograph By PTI; graphic By Ahmed Raza Khan/Mint
Photograph By PTI; graphic By Ahmed Raza Khan/Mint

The overall turnout across the 542 constituencies was not available till press time. Till the sixth phase of polling, the average turnout was 67.37%, an increase of 1.24 percentage points from the 2014 elections for the corresponding parliamentary constituencies at 66.12%.

A total of 59 Lok Sabha constituencies went to polls across eight states and Union territories in the seventh phase on Sunday, clocking a turnout of 64.11% as of 10pm. In 2014, this figure stood at 64.63%.

On Sunday, single-phase polling took place for the states of Punjab (65.14%) and Himachal Pradesh (70.62%) and the Union territory of Chandigarh (63.57%). Elections were also held in 13 constituencies in Uttar Pradesh (58.01%), nine in West Bengal (73.51%), eight each in Bihar (53.36%) and Madhya Pradesh (75.56%), and three in Jharkhand (71.16%). The figures are as of 10pm.

The seventh phase of elections was politically crucial, particularly because of the recent developments in West Bengal, where supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) engaged in violent clashes during a roadshow of BJP president Amit Shah. The Election Commission (EC), which came under fire from opposition parties, took the unprecedented step of curtailing campaigning by nearly 20 hours.

The seventh phase is also crucial because it included polling in eastern Uttar Pradesh, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency of Varanasi. Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was tasked to lead the party’s campaign in the region.

Senior deputy election commissioner Umesh Sinha said on Sunday that the female voter turnout in this election has been impressive and the gap between the male and female voter turnout has narrowed.

During the course of the polling, a total of 703 notices of paid news were given by the EC, of which 647 were confirmed cases. The EC also ran an exhaustive campaign for monitoring content on social media related to elections. According to the overall data, Facebook took down 650 posts, which included 482 posts during the period when campaigning was banned in each of the seven phases, while Twitter took down 220 tweets and accounts put together.

Counting will take place on 23 May, when the fate of 8,049 candidates who are in the fray will be known.

Get all the updates of Lok Sabha Elections 2019 here