Over 61 per cent voting in LS polls' 6th phase, enthusiastic J&K voters set another record

New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Over 61 per cent turnout was recorded in 58 seats in 8 states/UTs that went to polls on Saturday in the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha polls, ranging from 79.47 per cent in West Bengal (8 seats) to 54.03 per cent in UP (14 seats), while J&K's Anantnag-Rajouri seat logged an impressive 54.30 per cent - the highest in several decades, the Election Commission said.

The approximate turnout, as of 11.45 p.m., was 61.20 per cent, the poll panel said.

"The same shall continue to be updated by the field level officers as polling parties keep returning and will be available PC wise (along with respective AC segments) live at VTR App, as was the case in earlier phases," it said in a statement. The EC noted that "in spite of hot weather in certain parts of the country, voters were undeterred in their enthusiasm as they were seen queuing up patiently to cast their votes across the country", and a large number of voters were still in the queue at some polling stations at the prescribed time of closing of the poll.

The turnout in other states/UTs was 69.56 per cent in Odisha (6 LS seats and 42 Assembly seats), 63.76 per cent in Jharkhand (4 seats), 60.4 per cent in Haryana (10 seats), 57.67 per cent in Delhi (7 seats), and 54.03 per cent in UP (14 seats).

A total of 889 candidates were in the electoral fray, including Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan from Odisha's Sambalpur, former Union Maneka Gandhi from UP's Sultanpur, former Calcutta High Court judge Abhijit Gangophadhyay from West Bengal's Tamluk, industrialist Naveen Jindal from Haryana's Kurukshetra (all BJP), Kumari Selja from Haryana's Sirsa, Deepender Singh Hooda from Haryana's Rohtak, J.P. Agarwal from Delhi's Chandni Chowk (all Congress), PDP President and former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti (Anantnag-Rajouri), and actor-politician Deepak Adhikari Dev from West Bengal's Ghatal (Trinamool Congress).

Other prominent contests included Union Minister Sushma Swaraj's daughter Bansuri Swaraj making her electoral debut from New Delhi against Aam Aadmi Party's Somnath Bharti, Congress' Raj Babbar taking on Union Minister and sitting MP Rao Inderjit Singh in Gurgaon, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's cousin Dharmendra Yadav against sitting BJP MP Dinesh Lal Yadav 'Nirhua' in Azamgarh.

In Delhi, President Droupadi Murmu, CJI D.Y Chandrachud, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Congress leaders Sonia, Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi, CEC Rajiv Kumar and ECs Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, cricketer Kapil Dev, and actress Chitrangda Singh were among those who cast their votes. Polling in the Anantnag-Rajouri seat, where elections were deferred from the third phase on May 7, in Jammu and Kashmir was completely peaceful, with enthusiastic voters taking the turnout to the highest in many decades. The other two seats of the Kashmir Valley - Srinagar (38.49 per cent), and Baramulla (59.1 per cent) - also recorded turnouts which were highest in many decades.

With this phase, Delhi, Haryana, and J&K joined the 25 states/UTs where polling has already been concluded in the earlier phases and the number of parliamentary seats where the fate of the candidates has been sealed in the EVMs reached 486.

Polling for the remaining 57 seats, in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Odisha, as well as Punjab, Chandigarh, and Himachal Pradesh, will be held on June 1.


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