LIVE Updates: The Congress said Thursday that it has submitted 50 complaints to the Election Commission about glitches in Electronic Voting Machines and hooliganism by BJP workers at booths across seven Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra.
One Naxal was killed in an encounter with the security forces in Narayanpur district falling under Bastar Lok Sabha constituency in Chhattisgarh. Meanwhile, in Odisha’s Malkangiri, 15 polling booths recorded zero voting due to fear of Naxals.
Over ten clashes took place between TDP and YSRCP workers in Andhra Pradesh today. The latest clash took place in Kurnool.
Naxal-affected areas in Chhattisgarh recorded high voter turnout despite threats from Maoists. Naxal-affected polling booth at Gumalwada under Kawapal village panchayat — 75 km from Jagdalpur town — recorded 82 percent voting by 12.30 pm.
Union minister and BJP leader Smriti Irani is set to file her nomination papers from the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency on Thursday. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath also accompanied her. Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi too is going to file her nomination papers for the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat shortly. Both leaders kickstarted their journey with extensive pooja archana and will subsequently hold roadshows and public rallies.
Amid reports of escalating violence among TDP and YSRCP workers across Andhra Pradesh comes news of the death of two members of each party in a bloody clash in Anantapur constituency of Andhra Pradesh. Reports have said two people were injured in the clash.
In Chhattisgarh, out of the 11 constituencies, only Bastar is voting in the first phase. Till 9 am, the Maoist-hit belt has recorded 10 percent voting till 9 am, News18 reports.
Maharashtra had a slow start to its voting exercise despite Union minister Nitin Gadkari looking to fend off the challenge from Congress’ Nana Patole in Nagpur and the Maoist-affected Gadchiroli–Chimur also among the seven parliamentary constituencies going to polls in the first phase of voting in the Lok Sabha Election 2019., according to News18.
As political parties and politicians allege mass deletion of votes, Google Trends showed a surge in search for ‘How to remove vote ink’. Meanwhile, Delhi chief Arvind Kejriwal has also alleged mass deletion of votes. “Reports coming from all across India that votes have been deleted on an unprecedented scale,” tweeted Kejriwal quoting a tweet of Kiran Majumdar Shaw who complained of her mother’s name missing from the voters’ list.
TDP councillor Shivashankar Yadav was seen distributing currency notes among voters at Nandamurinagar polling station in Andhra’s Kurnool district. Kurnool Lok Sabha constituency is among one of those districts hit by Naxals. The key contest in this constituency is going to be held among BJP’s Dr PV Parthasarthi, Congress’ Ahmed Ali Khan, CPI(M) K Prabhakara Reddy, YSR Congress Party’s Sanjeev Kumar and TDP’s Kotla Surya Prakash Reddy.
A Dalit man was allegedly told to return from his polling booth and was not allowed to cast his vote because of his caste. Speaking to reporters outside, the man was unable to talk. The man alleged that he was humiliated by the EC official who turned him away because he was a Dalit.
The first voting trend comes in from Sikkim. Till 8.30 am, this tiny hill state has recorded 22 percent of voting, News18 reported. Sikkim is voting both for a new Assembly and also to elect a new MP. The state has only one seat in Lok Sabha. Voters are gradually trickling in to vote in their respective booths in Uttar Pradesh as the voting percentage in most of the eight constituencies in the state going to polls on Thursday is touching double figures, News18 reports.
Attacking the BJP government for Jobs and demonetisation, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on tweet urged people to vote wisely. Meanwhile, reports have said that Jana Sena MLA Madhusudhan Gupta smashed an EVM at a polling booth in Gooty, in Anantapur district. He has been arrested by police.
In the wake of reports of faulty EVMs, Chandrababu Naidu has reiterated his demand for replacement of EVMs with paper ballots, leading the Opposition’s charge against the voting machines. Meanwhile, YSRCP in a statement said that YSRCP leaders in Icchapuram are being put into jails as a concerted effort between the police and TDP leaders. “Booth nos 41, 42, 43 in Rajahmundhry rural constituency have been forcibly occupied by TDP cadre and they are not allowing the voters to exercise their voting rights freely,” the statement reads.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his chief rival, YSRCP chief Jaganmohan Reddy, have both cast their votes in the early hours of Phase 1 of the polls. While Naidu voted for the simultaneous polls at Amaravati, Jaganmohan voted at Pulivendula. Naidu is seeking election from Kuppam, while his son Nara Lokesh is making his electoral debut from Mangalagiri.
Early reports from various constituencies indicated a slow start to Phase 1 of Lok Sabha Election with few voters showing up at their polling booths. Considering that summers have set in, experts expected a higher voter turnout in the mornings. In the Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency of north Kashmir, very few voters came out in the morning especially in urban centre’s like Sopore, Baramulla old town, Kupwara and Bandipora. Reports from border areas like Gurez, Karnah and Uri of Baramulla said voters started coming out in good numbers to exercise their franchise in the morning.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet urged young and first-time voters to vote in large numbers. “2019 Lok Sabha elections commence today. I call upon all those whose constituencies are voting in the first phase today to turn out in record numbers and exercise their franchise. I specially urge young and first-time voters to vote in large numbers.”