India General Elections 2024: 10.82 per cent polling recorded till 9 am

The sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections saw 10.82 per cent polling till 9 am on Saturday in 58 seats across six states and two union territories. According to the Election Commission (EC) report, West Bengal recorded the highest voter turnout (16.54 per cent) in the first two hours of polling while Odisha recorded the lowest polling (7.43 per cent). According to the Election Commission data, 12.33 per cent voters cast their votes in Uttar Pradesh, 11.74 per cent in Jharkhand, 9.66 per cent in Bihar, 8.89 per cent in Jammu & Kashmir, 8.94 per cent in Delhi and 8.31 per cent in Haryana.

President Draupadi Murmu, Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, Union ministers S Jaishankar and Hardeep Singh Puri, Delhi minister Atishi and East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir were among those who cast their votes early in the national capital.
PDP leader and candidate from Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag-Rajouri seat Mehbooba Mufti said outgoing calls on her mobile number have been blocked. “I am not able to make any calls since morning. There is no reason for the sudden shutdown of services on polling day in Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency,” Mehbooba told PTI. The PDP also alleged that the police detained its workers and polling agents ahead of polling.

Apart from Delhi, voting is also being held in 14 seats of Uttar Pradesh, 10 seats of Haryana, 8 seats each of West Bengal and Bihar, 6 seats of Odisha, 4 seats of Jharkhand and 1 seat of Jammu and Kashmir. In Haryana, voting is being held simultaneously in the Karnal assembly by-election and 42 assembly seats of Odisha. People started queuing up at polling booths to cast their votes from 7 am. In Haryana, Khattar and Saini were the first to cast their votes at their respective booths.

Saini, along with his family, cast his vote in his hometown Mirzapur Mazra in Narayangarh district of Ambala. Khattar used the polling booth in Prem Nagar in Karnal to exercise his franchise. In the final phase of the Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge urged citizens to exercise their franchise in large numbers. “I urge all those voting in the sixth phase of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections to vote in large numbers. Every vote counts, make yours count too! Democracy thrives only when its people are involved and active in the electoral process. I especially urge women voters and young voters to vote in large numbers,” Modi said in a post on Twitter. “Each vote you cast in this great festival of democracy will go against authoritarian mindset and will strengthen democracy and the Constitution of India. Go to the polling booths and assert that there is democracy in India and through your votes, democracy will remain in India,” Kejriwal said. Kharge appealed to the people to vote against hatred, rhetoric and diversionary politics.

Over 11.13 crore voters – 5.84 crore men, 5.29 crore women and 5,120 third gender voters – are eligible to vote in the sixth phase. The Election Commission has deployed around 11.4 lakh election personnel at 1.14 lakh polling stations. The Election Commission has directed the election officials and state machinery to take appropriate measures to mitigate the harmful effects of hot weather as most parts of India are currently experiencing intense heat.

Polling will be held in the Jangal Mahal region, a tribal area spread across five districts in West Bengal. A hotspot for identity politics, the region sends eight representatives to the Lok Sabha from Tamluk, Kanthi, Ghatal, Jhargram, Medinipur, Purulia, Bankura and Bishnupur seats. Of the eight seats, the BJP had won five and the TMC three in the 2019 elections. A thrilling battle is expected in Delhi, where all seven seats will see a direct contest between the BJP, Congress and the AAP, which are partners in the Bharat Alliance. In Uttar Pradesh, Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Phulpur, Allahabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Shravasti, Dumariyaganj, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Lalganj, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Machhlishahr and Bhadohi seats are scheduled to go to polls.

The total number of voters in Giridih, Dhanbad, Ranchi and Jamshedpur constituencies in Jharkhand is around 82.16 lakh, of which 40.09 lakh are women. 86 candidates are in the fray in eight seats in Bihar – Valmiki Nagar, West Champaran, East Champaran, Sheohar, Siwan, Gopalganj, Maharajganj and Vaishali. Voting is also being held in 42 assembly seats under these Lok Sabha constituencies as well as six parliamentary seats in Odisha – Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar, Puri and Sambalpur.

(With inputs from PTI)