11.04 pm: Here are the top stories of the day:

  • The first phase of the Lok Sabha elections concluded with voters in 91 constituencies across 18 states and two Union territories exercising their franchise.
  • The Election Commission barred NaMo TV from telecasting recorded programmes with political content and political advertisements without being certified by the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee.
  • The Noida Police refuted social media posts that food packets delivered to personnel at polling booths with “Namo” labeling were politically linked. The Election Commission said the reports were irrelevant.
  • Cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir continued his attack of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, bringing up their recent Twitter spat while speaking to the media on Thursday.
  • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed that Pakistan wants Prime Minister Narendra Modi to remain in power because it wants riots in India.
  • Attorney General KK Venugopal told the Supreme Court during a hearing on the electoral bonds scheme that voters do not need to know where the money for political parties comes from.
  • The Congress asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to “investigate and neutralise” a possible threat to its President Rahul Gandhi’s life

11.02 pm: Polling continued past 10 pm at some booths in Andhra Pradesh due to faulty electronic voting machines and violence, reports IANS. Chief Electoral Officer Gopal Krishna Dwivedi says voting continued at 400 polling stations even after 6 pm. He says the process will continue till all the voters standing in queues cast their votes.

10.49 pm: The Election Commission says it has found no merit in the complaints by a number of voters in Gautam Buddh Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, that the inedible ink came off soon after it was applied, PTI reported.

Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bhushan says a report was sought from the polling officer and it was found that the phial of ink procured from Mysore paints and Varnish Limited was certified by a Council of Scientific and Industrial Research lab as is the procedure.

Bhushan says the ink may have come off if the voter had applied oil or cream on their hands.

10.44 pm: The poll body, in a letter to the Delhi chief electoral officer, says any political publicity material or content displayed on electronic media without the certification from the committee should be removed immediately.

Read more here:

NaMo TV: EC stops channel from airing political content without certification

10.35 pm: The Election Commission says NaMo TV cannot telecast political advertisement and recorded programmes with political content without certification from Media Certification and Monitoring Committee.

9.50 pm: The Election Commission also issues a notice to Mayawati for her speech in which she urged the Muslim community to not divide votes by choosing the Congress in the upcoming General Elections. She also gets a day to respond.

9.45 pm: The Election Commission issues a show cause notice to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath for his “Ali” and “Bajrang Bali” remarks at a rally in Meerut on Tuesday. The poll body finds him prima facie guilty of violating the Model Code of Conduct, and asks him to explain his remarks by Friday evening, PTI reports.

Adityanath had compared the upcoming elections to a contest between Ali, a revered figure in Islam, and Bajrang Bali, the Hindu god Hanuman. He also suggested that the Bharatiya Janata Party will win the elections as it has faith in Bajrang Bali.

8.57 pm: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami accuses Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief MK Stalin of using intemperate language against him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led alliance, reports News18.

8.53 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer L Venkateshwarlu dismisses allegations raised by the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party that Dalits were not allowed to vote at a booth in Bijnor Lok Sabha constituency.

“These [reports] are only rumours,” Venkateshwarlu tells PTI. “We have spoken to all DMs [district magistrates] in this regard. Nothing of this type of incident has taken place. These are only rumours, as they are not mentioning any specific polling booth.”

8.49 pm: A BJP delegation files a complaint with Odisha’s chief electoral officer, alleging violation of the Model Code of Conduct by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, reports ANI. The BJP says speeches that Patnaik delivered today were live telecast on a TV channel. The BJP claims Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal released its election manifesto on April 9, during the prohibition period, which was live telecast on TV channels.

8.46 pm: The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, a former ally of the ruling BJP in Goa, will support the Congress in the state, PTI reported. The party’s Central Committee met today and resolved to work for the Congress candidates in both the seats – Girish Chodankar (North Goa) and Francisco Sardinha (South Goa). Voting in Goa will take place in a single phase on April 23.

8.41 pm: The Election Commission says cash, liquor, freebies and drugs worth Rs 2,626 crore have been seized so far, reports ANI.

8.37 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi are the most talked about leaders on Twitter at the end of phase one of elections.

8.35 pm: Twitter India says 45.6 million tweets on Lok Sabha elections recorded between March and April 11 from India and across the world. The top conversation topic for the elections on Twitter are national security, followed by religion, jobs, agriculture, and taxes and trade.

8.30 pm: A 12-year-old boy dies in clashes in Langate area of Kupwara district in Jammu and Kashmir after polling ended in Baramulla parliamentary constituency, reports Greater Kashmir. An unidentified relative says a group of youngsters took to the streets as security forces were withdrawing and hurled stones at them, according to Rising Kashmir.

Medical Superintendent at the Handwara district hospital, Rouf, says the boy suffered multiple pellet injuries.

8.12 pm: The Election Commission says 0.73% ballot units, 0.61 % of the control units of electronic voting machines were replaced, reports Hindustan Times. The poll body says 1.7% of VVPATs were replaced. This is the first Lok Sabha election where VVPATs have been attached to all voting machines, an Election Commission official says.

8.07 pm: Kumar says Odisha recorded 68% voter turnout till 6 pm. In Uttar Pradesh, 63.69% polling was recorded till 5 pm.

8.05 pm: The voter turnout in Meghalaya is 67.16% till 6 pm, says Kumar.

8.04 pm: In Maharashtra, elections were not held in four polling stations in Gadchiroli-Chimur constituency due to presence of Left Wing Extremism, says Kumar. Voter turnout of 56% recorded in seven constituencies in the state.

8.01 pm: Lakshadweep records 66% voter turnout till 5 pm.

8 pm: Bihar records 50% voter turnout, says Kumar. He says the polling percentage in these polling stations in 2014 elections was also 50%.

7.57 pm: Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bhushan Kumar says 66% polling recorded so far in Arunachal Pradesh. A polling officer died of heart attack, he says.

7.52 pm: Jammu records voter turnout of 72.16% at 6 pm, while Baramulla records 35.01%, says Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena

7.50 pm: An Election Commission official says six ballot units, two control units and seven VVPATs were replaced in Nizamabad, Telangana, reports DD News. There were 15 cases of EVMs being damaged.

7.40 pm: Here’s the voter turnout till 5 pm. Polling is still under way in all these states, so voter turnout is likely to change.

Sikkim: 69%

Mizoram: 60%

Nagaland: 78%

Manipur: 78.2%

Tripura: 81.8%

Assam: 68%

West Bengal: 81%

7.36 pm: Andhra Pradesh records 66% till 5 pm, says Election Commission official Umesh Sinha.

7.35 pm: In Jammu, poll percentage was 67.39% at 5 pm. The overall voter turnout in Jammu and Baramulla was 54.49% at 5 pm, says Saxena.

7.33 pm: Saxena says voter turnout in Uttarakhand was 57.85% at 5 pm. It was 62.15% during the last parliamentary election, he says.

7.31 pm: Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena says 70,000 complaints were raised through cVIGIL App, reports DD News.

7.27 pm: Sinha says overall voter turnout in Chhattisgarh is 56%, reports DD News.

7.23 pm: Andhra Pradesh records 55% till 3 pm and Telangana records 60%, says Sinha.

7.22 pm: Sinha says Rs 74 crore was seized in Telangana.

7.18 pm: Sinha says Bastar recorded 56% voter turnout.

7.17 pm: Sinha says Shyamgiri, Chhattisgarh, recorded 77% voter turnout, reports DD News.

7.13 pm: Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha says voter turnout in Andaman and Nicobar Island is 70.67%.

7.10 pm: The Election Commission says first phase of polling was conducted successfully, reports DD News.

7.07 pm: Two security personnel injured in a blast and firing by suspected Maoists in Etapalli of Gadchiroli district, Maharashtra. The security personnel were returning to returning to the base camp along with the polling party, reports ANI. The injured personnel are being shifted to Nagpur.

7.03 pm: Karnataka Minister CS Puttaraju says Income Tax officials searched an apartment belonging to him in Mysuru, PTI reports. The minister is in charge of Mandya district and is overseeing election preparations of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s son, Nikhil Kumaraswamy

6.45 pm: Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah appeals to Dalits, members of Backward Castes and minorities not to vote for the BJP, reports PTI. He claims that elections will not take place if Prime Minister Narendra Modi returns to power. “There will be autocracy,” he says. “He will be the second Hitler.”

6.30 pm: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav accuses BJP of inciting hatred. He says preventing Dalits from voting is a sin.

6.26 pm: The voter turnout in Assam till 5 pm is 68%. Polling is still under way at many polling stations.

6.24 pm: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu criticises Election Commission for faulty electronic voting machines, reports ANI. “Election Commission which acted actively in transferring the officials couldn’t maintain EVMs and VVPATs,” he says. “They have failed.”

6.22 pm: Additional Chief Election Officer BR Tiwari refutes BJP’s Muzaffarnagar candidate Sanjeev Balyan’s allegations of fake voting in his constituency. “If a woman is in a veil, there are women officials who verify their identity, and only then they are allowed to vote,” says Tiwari, according to ANI.

Balyan had complained that in some booths, there were no women officers to verify the identities of voters in burqas. Tiwari says no such incident had come to the Election Commission’s notice.

6.15 pm: The voter turnout in Telangana till 5 pm is 60.57%.

6.12 pm: Voter turnout till 5 pm in Manipur is 78.20% and 65.9% in Lakshadweep. Polling is still under way at several location in Manipur and Lakshadweep.

6.10 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath claims that Congress president Rahul Gandhi had “no time” for his parliamentary constituency, Amethi, reports PTI. “I had sought proposals for development from him a number of times, but he did not give [any proposal],” says Adityanath at a campaign rally in Amethi. “Whenever Smriti Irani used to meet me, she talked about the development of Amethi and facilities being given to its people.”

6.05 pm: A Special Task Force constable suffers injuries in encounter with Maoists in Narayanpur, Chhattisgarh, reports ANI. Police earlier said a Maoist was killed in the operation. Narayanpur district falls under Bastar Lok Sabha constituency where polling took place today.

6.02 pm: Maharashtra records 55.78% voter turnout till 5 pm.

6 pm: Voting concludes at Haldwani constituency in Uttarakhand, reports ANI.

5.56 pm: The voter turnout at 5 pm.

Telangana: 60.57%

Meghalaya: 62%

Uttar Pradesh: 59.77%

5.52 pm: A spokesperson of the Election Commission says no votes were cast at two booths at Temurupali village in Malkangiri, Odisha due to fear of Maoists. “This is due to LWE [left wing extremism] threat,” says the spokesperson. “These are deep Maoist infested areas.”

5.49 pm: Mishra says another complaint was filed with the poll body regarding electronic voting machines, reports ANI. He says a video clip, which was sent to the Election Commission, shows a vote being cast for the BJP’s lotus symbol when the elephant symbol for BSP is pressed. “Our people had complained against it but no action was taken,” he says.

5.46 pm: Bahujan Samaj Party leader Satish Chandra Mishra claims the police and administration stopped members of Dalit community from casting votes, reports ANI. “We’ve registered complaint with Election Commission regarding this and requested immediate action,” he says. “We’ve told EC that higher-ups had a hand in this.”

5.40 pm: Security personnel fired shots in the air when some people allegedly tried to cast vote without voter ID at a polling station in Shamli around 2pm, reports ANI. District Magistrate Akhilesh Kumar says the situation was brought under control and voting resumed, reports Hindustan Times.

Shamli falls under Kairana Lok Sabha constituency.

5.33 pm: Polling concludes at Jamui constituency in Bihar, reports ANI. The voter turnout in the constituency till 5 pm is 54%.

5.26 pm: Chhattisgarh Police say a Maoist was killed in an encounter with security forces in Narayanpur district falling under Bastar Lok Sabha constituency in Chhattisgarh, reports PTI. Polling is under way in Bastar.

5.20 pm: The voter turnout in Bihar at 5 pm is 50.26%.

5.18 pm: Shiromani Akali Dal registers a complaint with the Chief Election Commissioner demanding action against R Thukral, media advisor to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, for allegedly violating the model code of conduct by posting Congress party’s press releases on social media, ANI reports.

5.15 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says Pakistan and its Prime Minister Imran Khan are supporting Narendra Modi because they want riots to break out in India. “What Pakistan could not do in 70 years, Modi has done in five years – damage the brotherhood in India.”

5.05 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the BJP is committed to bring Citizenship (Amendment) Bill after consultations with all sections, reports PTI. He says it will be amended in way to not impact Assamese people. He is speaking at a rally in Silchar, Assam

5.03 pm: Ravi Dutt Mishra, who was a member of the BJP and later a minister in the Samajwadi Party government, joins Congress in the presence of Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, reports ANI.

5.01 pm: Here’s the voter turnout till 3 pm.

Andhra Pradesh: 55%.

Arunachal Pradesh: 50.87%

Maharashtra: 46.13%

Sikkim: 55%

4.49 pm: The BJP accuses TMC of ransacking EVM at a polling station at Barosholmari area of Cooch Behar, West Bengal.

4.44 pm: Voter turnout till 3 pm in Jammu and Kashmir is 46.17%.

4.39 pm: An IED blast occurs near a polling booth in Maharashtra’s Gadchroli district, reports PTI

4.38 pm: BJP leader Tapan Maity’s vehicle vandalised at Maisara, Panskura, in West Bengal.

4.27 pm: Biju Janata Dal writes to Chief Electoral Officer over violation of EC guidelines by BJP for holding a press meet today.

4.26 pm: The overall voter turnout in Bihar at 4 pm is 48.74%.

4.25 pm: “I urge first time voters to cast their vote thoughtfully,” Modi says in Assam. “History of Congress has always been one that creates problem. There was partition in 1947 on basis of religious faith, but it was never thought what will be the fate of religious minorities in Pakistan.”

4.17 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins his speech in Silchar, Assam. He says the trend is clear from the people’s enthusiasm.

4.16 pm: The voter turnout in West Bengal at 3 pm is 69.94% and that in Bihar is 41.73%.

3.57 pm: The voter turnout in Tripura West constituency is 51.25% till 3 pm, says the Election Commission.

3.52 pm: Voter turnout till 3 pm in Nagaland is 68%, in Telangana is 48.95%, in Assam is 59.5% and in Meghalaya is 55%.

3.51 pm: Union minister Smriti Irani questions Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s silence over the income tax raids on Kamal Nath’s aides. “Why isn’t Rahul Gandhi revealing who the gentleman from Madhya Pradesh is who transferred loot money to a person residing on Tughlaq Road?” she asks. “Rahul Gandhi is still silent over the fact that from the residence of an aide of Kamal Nath, details about Rs 280 crore had emerged... Rahul’s silence exposes his reality.”

3.47 pm: The overall voter turnout in eight constituencies in Uttar Pradesh at 3 pm is 50.86%.

3.46 pm: Voter turnout in Nagpur parliamentary constituency till 3 pm is 38.35%.

3.39 pm: The Congress asks the Ministry of Home Affairs to “investigate and neutralise” a possible threat to its President Rahul Gandhi’s life. The party, in its letter, cites a clip of Gandhi’s media interaction after he filed his nomination papers in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi during which a green laser was observed on his head on seven occasions.

Read more here

Lok Sabha polls: Congress demands inquiry into alleged laser threat to Rahul Gandhi

3.37 pm: In Uttarkhand, 46.59% polling recorded till 3 pm while in Manipur it is 68.90%.

3.36 pm: The voter turnout in Lakshadweep at 3 pm 51.25%, says the Election Commission.

3.33 pm: Family members of Mohammed Akhlaq, who was lynched on suspicion of possessing beef, do not have their names on the voter list in Gautam Buddh Nagar, reports India Today. A block level officer said the family has moved out of the Bisada village.

3.31 pm: The Congress alleges that Nagaland Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton voted eight times.

3.29 pm: The BSP alleges that voters are being stopped by the police from reaching the polling booths, reports News18. “All this is apparently being done under the diktats of higher ups,” the party alleges. “Immediate intervention is required on this otherwise no purpose of elections and advertisements of CEC to vote.”

3.24 pm: The Supreme Court will pass its verdict on a plea challenging the government’s electoral bond scheme for political funding.

Electoral bonds are monetary instruments that citizens or corporate groups can buy from the State Bank of India and give to a political party, which is then free to redeem them for money. These bonds are anonymous. The scheme was introduced in January 2018.

Read more here

Electoral bonds: Voters don’t need to know where political parties get their funds from, says Centre

3.20 pm: Odisha Congress spokesperson Sonali Sahoo quits after not getting a ticket for the Assembly elections, reports PTI.

3.12 pm: The Election Commission receives 462 complaints of various nature within 2 hours of voting in Cooch Behar and Alipurduar seats in West Bengal, reports News18. “We resolved issues in nearly 436 booths in Alipurduar and Cooch Behar. Rest of the issues will be addressed soon,” says Additional Chief Electoral Officer Sanjay Basu.

3.07 pm: Akhilesh Yadav says the BJP is desperate and hence trying things like NaMo food packets.

2.54 pm: TDP leader Kodela Siva Prasada Rao faces attack at a polling booth in Sattenapalli.

2.45 pm: Smriti Irani files her nomination from Amethi parliamentary constituency.

Read more here

Smriti Irani files nomination for Lok Sabha polls from Amethi

2.44 pm: Till 1 pm the following are the voter turnout:

West Bengal is 55.95%

Assam is 44.33%

Andhra Pradesh is 41%.

Meghalaya is 44.5%

Maharashtra is 34.05%

Sikkim is 39.08%

2.39 pm: Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi says Modi’s visit to the state for campaigning on a polling day is a violation of the Model Code of Conduct. “Modi could have campaigned tomorrow since no polling is scheduled for the day. Soliciting votes in the name of the martyrs of the Assam Agitation is also an indirect violation of the MCC. The martyrs are ours and not of the BJP,” he adds.

2.36 pm: BJP leader and Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman says the voter turnout is encouraging. “BJP workers are extremely enthused and motivated at the good voter turnout so far on the first day of polling. Everything seems to be going in NDA’s favour,” she says.

2.32 pm: At the Assam rally, Modi says the Congress has come up with a new scam. “It is the “Tuglak Road Chunavi Ghotala”.

2.28 pm: Former cricketer and Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee Working President Mohammad Azharuddin casts his vote.

2.27 pm: In Assam, Modi says the Congress is seeking proof from the armed forces. “Can there by any compromise when it comes to national security and dealing with terrorist outfits? he asks. “But unfortunately, Opposition wants to weaken the nation’s security.”

2.24 pm: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal says Narendra Modi will be the prime minister for a second term. “Along with Assam, the people of the country have decided to cast their vote for the second term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for development, brotherhood, peace and security of the nation,” he tells reporters after casting his ballot in Dibrugarh district.

2.22 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi starts addressing a rally in Mangaldai, Assam.

2.21 pm: The National Conference and PDP alleged coercion to vote for the BJP and EVMs malfunctioning in some places with the Congress button not working in Jammu’s Poonch area. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti tweets a video showing voters raising anti-BJP slogans after they were purportedly roughed up by the BSF for not voting for the BJP.

Read more here

J&K: Mehbooba Mufti alleges BSF personnel manhandled person who refused to vote for BJP

2.17 pm: Sonia Gandhi says Modi is not invincible.

Read more here

Sonia Gandhi files nomination papers in Rae Bareli in UP

2.15 pm: Karnataka’s PWD Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Revanna says he will quit politics if Prime Minister Narendra Modi is re-elected from Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency. “I will retire from politics if Modi gets re-elected from Varanasi and becomes prime minister again. The BJP will not come to power this time,” Revanna tells reporters.

2.03 pm: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao and his wife cast their votes in Siddipet.

1.57 pm: Shah also claims that his government will “remove Article 370 from Kashmir” after it returns to power in 2019, according to PTI.

1.52 pm: At an event in Darjeeling, BJP chief Amit Shah says the party will ensure the implementation of the National Register of Citizens in the entire country. “We will remove every single infiltrator from the country, except Buddha, Hindus and Sikhs,” Shah says.

Read more here

BJP will implement NRC across the country, Amit Shah reiterates in West Bengal

1.51 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath and BJP candidate Smriti Irani hold a roadshow in Amethi. Irani will file her nomination papers from the constituency soon.

1.50 pm: Election Commission announces the voter turnout at 1 pm for several states:

  • Lakshwadweep: 37.7%
  • Nagaland: 57%
  • Manipur: 53.44%
  • Uttarakhand: 41.27%
  • Mizoram: 43.38%
  • Telangana: 38.8%
  • Arunachal: 40.95%
  • Uttar Pradesh: 38.78%

1.48 pm: Additional Chief Election Officer BR Tiwari says reports about the Namo food packets were “highlighted in a different manner in media”.

1.38 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi hits out at the Congress and its allies in Bihar and claims that the “mahamilavati [highly adulterated] gang” is scared of him coming back to power.

Read more here:

‘Opposition fears if Modi comes back to power, shops of corruption will be shut down,’ claims PM

1.34 pm: Telugu Desam Party candidate from Guntur Kodela Sivaprasad Rao locks himself into a polling booth at Inimetla village, reports the Hindustan Times.

1.29 pm: Congress leader Sonia Gandhi holds a roadshow before filing nomination in Rae Bareli.

1.28 pm: Gautam Buddh Nagar Senior Superintendent of Police Vaibhav Krishna says the food packets procured from “Namo Foods” was not done by any political party. “Misinformation is being spread that some policemen have been distributed food from a political party,” Krishna tells PTI. “This is absolutely wrong. At local level, some food packets were procured from Namo Food Shop and not from any political party.”

“Some people are spreading wrong and politically motivated rumour. There is no official order to procure food from any particular food outlet,” he adds.

The food packets had raised questions as several people wondered if it was violation of the model code of conduct since PM Narendra Modi is often referred to as Namo.

1.20 pm: As of 1 pm, the polling percentage in Bihar is 33.5%.

1.10 pm: Two people have died after clashes between supporters of the Telugu Desam Party and the YSR Congress, the Hindustan Times reports. The deceased workers were identified as TDP’s Siddha Bhaskar Reddy and YSRCP’s Pulla Reddy.

Members of both parties pelted stones at each other at Meerapuram village in Anantapur district.

1.06 pm: Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister holds a roadshow in Amethi. BJP candidate Smriti Irani is expected to file her nomination paper in the constituency today.

12.56 pm: Poonch District Election Officer admits that there was a problem with some EVMs earlier in the day, and says they have been replaced now, according to ANI. The Congress button in a machine in Shahpur was not working, while the BJP button wasn’t working at another station, he says.

Jammu and Kashmir National Conference leader Omar Abdullah had flagged the problem earlier in the day.

12.53 pm: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti alleges the Border Security Force manhandled a person who refused to vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party.

12.42 pm: The police resorted to lathicharge to disperse people after clashes broke out between Telugu Desam Party and YSR Congress workers in Bandarlapalli, Andhra Pradesh, reports ANI.

12.40 pm: Glitches in Electronic Voting Machines were also reported from several polling stations in Maharashtra. The EVMs were functioning extremely slowly in booth 127 of Gadchiroli-Chimur constituency and booth 147 in Yavatmal-Washim, according to the Hindustan Times. A polling station in Bhandara-Gondiya is also reportedly facing such problems.

“There are massive queues outside these polling stations. Since past one hour, barely four people have cast their votes. We have complained to the local Election Commission officials to make alternative EVMs available immediately,” said a Congress spokesperson.

12.35 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, is speaking at a rally in Bihar. He claims the “Mahamilavati gang”, referring to the Opposition, wants India’s armed forces to be stripped of their powers, according to PTI. “The NDA government’s policy is clear – our jawans shall have full liberty to deal with terrorists and Naxals.”

12.32 pm: Several leaders appeal to voters to come out in large numbers and participate in the democratic process.

Read more here:

‘You vote for soul of India’: Rahul Gandhi urges voters to participate in democracy

12.23 pm: The Election Commission uses drones in several constituencies for surveillance, reports the Hindustan Times.

12.22 pm: Some visuals from polling stations where the first phase of elections is under way.

12.19 pm: Congress candidate Renuka Chowdhury casts her vote in Khammam, Telangana. She says she is very optimistic that the Congress will “win this race”.

12.15 pm: An IED blast triggered allegedly by naxals near a polling booth in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra, ANI reports. No injuries have been reported yet.

12.12 pm: All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi says, “I request the people of India to not let Imran Khan’s wishes to come true”, according to News18. He was referring to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s comments that there would be a better chance of talks with India if the Bharatiya Janata Party returns to power after the Lok Sabha elections.

12.02 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleges that voter deletions are at an “unprecedented scale”.

11.58 am: “The ‘Mahamilavati’ gang fears that if Modi returns to power, their shops of corruption and dynasty politics will shut down,” Modi claims at the rally in Bihar, according to PTI.

11.57 am: Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is addressing a rally in Bhagalpur, Bihar.

11.55 am: Polling percentages till 11am, according to the Election Commission.

  • Lakshadweep: 23.10%
  • Chhattisgarh: 21.1%
  • Maharashtra: 13.70%
  • Uttar Pradesh: 24.32%
  • Nagaland: 41%
  • Manipur: 35.03%
  • Meghalaya: 27%
  • Arunachal Pradesh: 27.48%
  • Telangana: 22.84%
  • Uttarakhand: 23.78%
  • Mizoram: 29.8%
  • West Bengal: 38.08%
  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands: 14.37%

11.51 am: The Chhattisgarh Police arrest four alleged Naxals and seize three firearms in Bijapur district, PTI reports. Polling is underway in the state’s Bastar Lok Sabha constituency today.

11.49 am: Union minister Smriti Irani and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi are expected to file their nominations on Thursday for Amethi and Rae Bareilly parliamentary seats.

11.48 am: TRS leaders cast their votes.

11.46 am: Election Commission releases polling percentages for several states till 11 am.

  • Nagaland: 41%
  • Manipur: 35.03%
  • Meghalaya: 27%
  • Arunachal Pradesh: 27.48%
  • Telangana: 22.84%
  • Uttarakhand: 23.78%
  • Mizoram: 29.8%
  • West Bengal: 38.08%
  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands: 14.37%

11.35 am: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu writes to the Election Commission, asks it to conduct repolling in booths where the process had not started till 9.30 am due to glitches in Electronic Voting Machines. About 43 of over 92,000 EVMs were faulty and had to be replaced, according to EC officials.

Read more here:

EVMs malfunction in many places in Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu writes to Election Commission

11.08 am: Food packets at a polling station in Noida has “Namo” written on them, News18 reports. NaMo is often used for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Several voters reportedly questioned if this does not violate the model code of conduct. Union minister Mahesh Sharma is contesting from the Lok Sabha seat.

11 am: Congress symbol button is not working at polling stations in Poonch, Jammu and Kashmir, alleges National Conference leader Omar Abdullah.

10.56 am: But Muzzafarnagar District Magistrate Ajay Shankar denies the allegations. “We have no such reports. The complaint is baseless,” Shankar tells News18.

10.54 am: BJP candidate Sanjiv Balyan alleges “fake voting” by people clad in burqas in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, ANI reports.

10.51 am: A 104-year-old woman, Lakhi Paul, casts her vote in Assam, News18 reports. She’s the oldest voter in the state. Five constituencies – Tezpur, Kalibor, Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur – are voting today.

Also read: An Assam village is boycotting the polls. Here’s why

10.50 am: Several parties as well as political leaders urge Indians to vote today.

10.40 am: Activists from the Telugu Desam Party and the YSR Congress Party are clashing at polling booths in Andhra Pradesh, the Hindustan Times reports. YSR Congress members have alleged that unauthorised people are entering the polling station. Clashes are being reported from Pedamogalayapalli village of Rapthadu assembly segment in Anantapur district, and Mydukur and Jammalamadugu Assembly constituencies in Kadapa.

10.30 am: Voting is under way in 28 out of 147 Assembly seats in Odisha. Over 60 lakh voters will exercise their franchise to choose from among 191 candidates.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has won four consecutive terms in office. However, this time he is facing a strong anti-incumbency wave. In 2014, the Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal won 118 Assembly seats while the Congress and BJP bagged 16 and 10, respectively. Three seats went to Independents and others.

Also read:

  1. In Odisha, Naveen Patnaik faces aggressive BJP – but is still the favourite after 19 years as CM
  2. Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal lives up to promise of 33% representation, fields 7 women in Odisha

10.28 am: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi urges Indians to “vote wisely”.

10.25 am: Election Commission announces voter turnouts for several states till 9 am.

  • West Bengal: 18.12%
  • Bihar: 7.8%
  • Chhattisgarh: 10.2%
  • Manipur: 15.6%
  • Telangana: 10.6%
  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands: 5.83%
  • Lakshadweep: 9.83%
  • Assam: 10.2%
  • Arunachal Pradesh: 13.3%
  • Mizoram: 17.5%

10.22 am: Union minister Nitin Gadkari casts his vote in Nagpur parliamentary constituency.

10.21 am: In Arunachal Pradesh, voting is underway in 57 of 60 Assembly seats. The ruling BJP has already won three seats unopposed. As many as 181 candidates are in the fray. Eleven of them are women.

The BJP has fielded candidates in all the 57 Assembly seats, while the Congress is contesting in 46 seats, the National People’s Party in 30 seats, Janata Dal (United) in 15, Janata Dal (Secular) in 12, People’s Party of Arunachal in nine and the All India Party in one seat. There are also 11 independents in the fray.

Also read:

  1. Elections in Arunachal Pradesh are all about money – and mithun feasts
  2. The highway building boom in Arunachal is changing lives. Will BJP benefit from it in the elections?
  3. The Silent Army: In Arunachal, election staff are chosen on their ability to walk – for days

10.16 am: Personnel from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the Chhattisgarh Police were attacked by naxals near Farasgaon in Narayanpur early on Thursday morning, ANI reports. The personnel were moving towards a polling booth when they were attacked. They “successfully broke the ambush”, ANI adds.

10.05 am: In Sikkim, over 4 lakh voters will elect a 32-member Assembly. Prominent candidates in the fray include Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kimar Chamling, who is seeking a record eighth successive term as an MLA. He is contesting from two Assembly seats – Poklok-Kamrang and Namchi-Singhithang.

Apart from the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front and opposition party Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, this time there is another political outfit in the fray – former footballer Bhaichung Bhutia’s Hamro Sikkim Party. In 2014, the Sikkim Democratic Front won 22 seats while the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha had bagged 10 seats.

Read more here: 2019 Assembly elections: Voting under way in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim

10.01 am: AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi casts his vote in Hyderabad.

10 am: Election Commission announces voter turnouts for several states till 9 am.

  • Telangana: 10.6%
  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands: 5.83%
  • Lakshadweep: 9.83%
  • Assam: 10.2%
  • Arunachal Pradesh: 13.3%
  • Mizoram: 17.5%

9.57 am: The police arrest Jana Sena MLA candidate Madhusudhan Gupta for smashing an Electronic Voting Machine in Gooty in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, ANI reports. Several glitches have been reported from EVMs in the state. Voting is underway in Andhra for 175 Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats.

9.44 am: In Andhra Pradesh, over 3.93 crore voters will decide the fate of 2,118 candidates in 175 Assembly constituencies. Telugu Desam Party chief and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is seeking re-election from Kuppam. He has been elected six times consecutively from here. YSR Congress chief Jagan Reddy will stand from Pulivendula, where he won in 2014 with a margin of over 75,000 votes. Chandrababu Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh is contesting from Mangalgiri. He will take on YSR Congress’ sitting MLA Alla Ramakrishna Reddy.

Also read:

  1. 2019 Assembly elections: Voting under way in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh Odisha and Sikkim
  2. In coastal Andhra Pradesh, Telugu Desam Party banks on welfare schemes, backward classes vote
  3. How Jagan Reddy walked 3,000 km to build a robust campaign against Chandrababu Naidu in Andhra
  4. The Kapu vote: Why Pawan Kalyan’s rise is a big challenge for Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh

9.43 am: Voting is also underway in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and parts of Odisha to elect a new state government. The results of these three Assembly elections will be declared on May 23.

Read more here: 2019 Assembly elections: Voting under way in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim

9.41 am: The Election Commission on Wednesday pulled up the Department of Revenue for treating its advisory on enforcement action during the poll season in a “casual and trivial” manner, reports PTI. In its advisory, the poll body had asked the Department of Revenue to be neutral, impartial and non-discriminatory during enforcement action in the election season.

Read more here: EC pulls up Revenue Department for treating its advisory in ‘casual and trivial’ manner

9.40 am: Uttarakhand records voter turnout of 13.34% till 9 am, according to the poll body.

9.35 am: A voter turnout of 21% recorded in Nagaland till 9 am, says the Election Commission.

9.20 am: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat casts his vote in Dehradun, ANI reports.

9.18 am: BJP workers have allegedly attacked the head of a panchayat in West Bengal’s Mathabhanga, who belongs to the Trinamool Congress, The Indian Express reports. The poll panel has asked for a report of the incident.

9.14 am: There has been a low-intensity blast in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district, The Indian Express reports. The explosion, near Farasgaon in Narayanpur district, caused no casualties, the daily adds. Polls are being held in Bastar apart from Sukma, Bijapur, Dantewada and Narayanpur districts of Chhattisgarh.

9.09 am: Muzaffarnagar Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Sanjeev Balyan claims that faces of women in burqas are not being checked by polling authorities, ANI reports. “I allege that fake voting is being done,” he says. “If not looked into, I will demand a re-poll.”

Read more here

Muzaffarnagar MP Sanjeev Balyan alleges fake voting, says faces of burqa-clad women not checked

9.04 am: There have been glitches in electronic voting machines in many places in Andhra Pradesh, a polling official tells PTI. State Chief Electoral Officer Gopal Krishna Dwivedi says there were complaints about EVM glitches in around 50 places. Technical teams are on the spot to rectify the defects and enable polling, he adds.

8.55 am: Polling for the first phase of simultaneous Assembly elections has also begun in Odisha. Elections are being held for 28 Assembly constituencies on Thursday, the Hindustan Times reports. There are 147 seats in the Odisha Legislative Assembly.

8.41 am: YSR Congress Party chief Jaganmohan Reddy casts his vote in Kadapa. “I’m very confident, people are looking for a change, vote without fear,” ANI quotes him as saying.

8.36 am: Voting under way in Cooch Behar, West Bengal

8.31 am: Voting underway in Imphal, Manipur. The Outer Manipal Lok Sabha constituency, one of Manipur’s two parliamentary seats, votes on Thursday.

8.29 am: Former Uttarakhand CM Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank casts his vote in Dehradun.

8.26 am: Former Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat queues up to vote outside a booth in Haldwani.

8.25 am: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu casts his vote in Amravati.

7.59 am: Voters get a special welcome in Baraut in Uttar Pradesh.

7.55 am: Google marks the beginning of the Indian elections with a doodle.

7.45 am: Visuals of voters outside polling booths in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur, Gadchiroli in Maharashtra, Pulivendula and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, Dibrugarh in Assam

7.35 am: Voters queue up outside a polling booth in Jammu. Two parliamentary constituencies – Jammu and Baramulla – go to the polls on Thursday.

7.30 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweets: “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.”

7.25 am: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat casts his vote in Nagpur, ANI reports. “Voting is necessary and a sacred responsibility of all,” he says according to PTI. “Vote for national security, development and identity.” On the None of the Above Option, he says: “Being quiet does not work, you have to say yes or no.”

RSS General Secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi also casts his vote.

7.20 am: As many as 75,000 security personnel will be on duty in Chhattisgarh for the first phase of the polls, Bastar District Magistrate A Tamboli has said, ANI reports. The region is being monitored using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and drones, he has added.

7.15 am: Voting has begun for 91 constituencies in 20 states and union territories in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections, ANI reports.

7 am: Here are the top updates from Wednesday:

  • AAP MP Sanjay Singh ruled out the possibility of an alliance with the Congress and claimed that the Rahul Gandhi-led outfit wants the Bharatiya Janata Party to win the Lok Sabha polls. “In Delhi, where the Congress has no presence, they want to give us three seats,” Singh said.
  • The Trinamool Congress submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission of India alleging bias in its decision to transfer West Bengal police officers ahead of Lok Sabha elections.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the Congress of an “election scam”, claiming that the party had looted the money meant “for the poor and pregnant women” in the country. Modi said the Opposition party is known by many names as far as scams are concerned.
  • Gujarat MLA Alpesh Thakor and two other lawmakers quit the Congress after Thakor Kshatriya Sena, the outfit founded by him, decided to withdraw its support to the party. MLA Dhavalsinh Thakor and MLA Bharatji Thakor are the other two legislators who quit the Rahul Gandhi-led party.
  • The Election Commission of India stayed the release of PM Narendra Modi, a biopic on the prime minister, until the end of polling. The film was slated to be released on April 11.
  • The Election Commission issued a show cause notice to Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao for allegedly making derogatory remarks against the Hindu community at a rally last month. The poll panel said it had found Rao prima facie guilty in the matter.
  • Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan claimed that there is a better chance of talks with India if the Bharatiya Janata Party returns to power in the Lok Sabha elections. Khan said that the Congress, if it comes to power, might be too scared to seek a settlement with Pakistan over Kashmir due to fears of a backlash from the right-wing.