Voting for the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections concluded on Saturday in seven states and one Union territory.

Polling took place in 13 constituencies in Punjab, 13 in Uttar Pradesh, nine in West Bengal, eight in Bihar, six in Odisha, four in Himachal Pradesh, three in Jharkhand and one in Chandigarh.

Voting also took place for the remaining 42 seats in the fourth and final phase of the Assembly elections in Odisha.

According to the Election Commission, 10.06 crore voters were registered to cast their votes in 57 Lok Sabha constituencies.

Out of the total 543 Lok Sabha seats, voting was completed in 487 constituencies in the first six phases of the election.

Voter turnout

The approximate voter turnout in the seventh phase of polling at 8 pm was 59.14%, according to the Election Commission’s Voter Turnout App.

While Uttar Pradesh saw a 55.60% turnout, the number was 69.89% in West Bengal. The turnout was 67.39% in Himachal Pradesh, 69.03% in Jharkhand, 49.58% in Bihar, 55.69% in Punjab and 63.18% in Odisha. In Chandigarh, the turnout was 62.80%.

Violence in West Bengal

Violence was reported from several parts of West Bengal as polling began, reported The Indian Express.

At Bhangar in Jadavpur constituency, supporters of the Trinamool Congress and the Indian Secular Front reportedly threw crude bombs at each other. Protests broke out after the police arrived at the spot. The police used batons to disperse the crowd. Crude bombs were recovered from the area.

Further, an Electronic Voting Machine and a Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail machine were thrown into the water at booth numbers 40 and 41 in the Kultali area of the South 24 Parganas district. Election Commission officials, however, said that they were reserve machines, reported The Indian Express.

“The polling process has not been vitiated,” an unidentified senior official was quoted as saying by the newspaper. “Those which were kept in reserve were thrown in water. We have sought a report from the presiding officer.”

Prominent candidates in the fray

Some of the prominent candidates in the fray in the final phase of polling include Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is seeking a third consecutive term from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. Congress’ Ajai Rai is contesting against Modi.

In Himachal Pradesh’s Mandi, actor and Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Kangana Ranaut is contesting against Congress leader Vikramaditya Singh.

In West Bengal, Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee is up against the Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s Pratik Ur Rahman and BJP leader Abhijit Das for the Diamond Harbour seat.

Another key seat in the state is the Basirhat constituency, which includes the Sandeshkhali village that has been at the centre of a political row over the past few months. The village had witnessed unprecedented protests by women in connection with several allegations of sexual assault and land-grabbing against suspended Trinamool Congress leader Shahjahan Sheikh and his associates.

The BJP has fielded Rekha Patra, one of the women from Sandeshkhali who had accused Sheikh of sexual harassment, from the Basirhat seat against the Trinamool Congress’ Haji Nurul Islam.

In Punjab, prominent candidates include BJP leader Preneet Kaur, who is contesting against Congress’ Dharamvira Gandhi from Patiala. Congress leader and former Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi is contesting from Jalandhar against the BJP’s Sushil Kumar Rinku and Aam Aadmi Party leader Pawan Kumar Tinu.

Congress leader Manish Tewari is in the fray against the BJP’s Sanjay Tandon in Chandigarh.

In Bihar, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Misa Bharti, the daughter of former Chief Minister Lalu Prasad, is contesting against BJP’s Ram Kripal Yadav from Pataliputra.

Another polling official succumbs to heatwave in Bihar

Another official on election duty in Bihar succumbed to the heat wave on Saturday, reported East Mojo.

The man identified as Constable Wetelhou Chakhesang is the third election official from Nagaland’s Indian Reserve battalion who died in Bihar, deputy chief minister of the northeastern state Yanthungo Patton said in a post on X.

Till Friday, 21 officials who were on election duty died in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in the last two days amid a severe heat wave in the region. Eighteen deaths were reported from Bihar, while 13 fatalities took place in Uttar Pradesh.

Also read: Lok Sabha elections: 22% candidates contesting seventh phase face criminal cases