LS election reaches climax as final phase of polling gets underway

New Delhi: The seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha Election once again witnessed clashes in West Bengal, with the ruling Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party accusing each other of disrupting the poll process.

Voting is currently underway in 59 constituencies across seven States and one union territory. Over 10.1 crore voters will decide the fate of 918 candidates including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who’s contesting from Varanasi.

Polling is on in all 13 seats in Punjab and 13 in Uttar Pradesh, nine in West Bengal, eight seats each in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, four in Himachal Pradesh, three in Jharkhand and the lone seat in Chandigarh (UT).

Security beefed up

Security has been beefed up in all the States, with 710 companies of security forces being deployed in West Bengal alone which witnessed violence in all the previous six phases of the poll. Menwhile, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad along with his family cast votes at booth no 77 Women’s College in Bailey Road, Patna. Speaking to media persons after casting his vote, he said, “Modi will be the Prime Minister again.”

Violence in Bengal

Reports say that Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) officer Pawan allegedly heckled and beaten up in Jadavpur’s Hellen Keller School in West Bengal and BJP candidate from Diamond Harbour Nilanjan Roy’s car was vandalised. He said, “Women TMC workers with covered faces are casting proxy votes, it is difficult to establish their identity. When we raised objection to it, they created a ruckus at a polling station.”

Meanwhile clashes broke out between BJP and SP workers in UP’s Chandauli. A fight broke out over standing in the queue. Police rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control. The incident took place in Prahupur booth in Mughalsarai’s Kotwali.

Who’s who in the fray

While campaigning ended on Friday in six of the States, it ended on Thursday in West Bengal on the Election Commission’s orders. In an unprecedented action, the poll panel on Wednesday curtailed the campaign period in West Bengal following violence involving BJP and Trinamool Congress workers in Kolkata during a road show of BJP chief Amit Shah on Tuesday (14 May).

In Uttar Pradesh, the Phase seven polling will decide the fate of 10 BJP leaders including Union minister Manoj Sinha, who is seeking re-election from Ghazipur and Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan, who is trying to reclaim the saffron party’s stronghold of Gorakhpur. Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey is also seeking re-election from Chandauli in this phase.

However, all eyes will be set on Varanasi from where Modi seeking re-election. Besides Modi, 25 other candidates are also in the fray. The final phase of the Lok Sabha Election 2019 will also decide the fate of eight candidates of the Samajwadi Party and five of the Bahujan Samaj Party. The two parties have forged an alliance in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha Election 2019.

Two on poll duty die
Two government employees engaged in election duty died in separate incidents in Madhya Pradesh, an official said. Garu Singh Chogad, who was deployed at the Jalwat polling booth in Dhar Lok Sabha constituency, died after suffering a heart failure today, State’s Chief Electoral Officer V L Kantha Rao told reporters. In another incident, a presiding officer, Anil Nema, in Dewas Lok Sabha seat died of cardiac arrest on Saturday night, he said.

NT Bureau