Election watch: Poll panel reports over 68% overall voter turnout in second phase
All of the day’s Lok Sabha poll updates, as they happened.
11.20 pm: Here are the day’s top stories:
- The second phase of voting concluded with an estimated voter turnout of 67.55%. The figure was revised to 68.66% at 8 am on Friday. Violence was reported in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Voters from several states complained of EVM malfunctions and that their names were deleted from electoral lists.
- The father of a Malegaon blasts victim filed a plea to restrain Pragya Thakur from contesting elections. Omar Abdullah asked how she can contest polls if she is on bail on health grounds. Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti also sparred on Twitter over the BJP leader, while Tehseen Poonawalla wrote to the EC and asked it to debar Pragya Singh Thakur. The BJP, however, defended its decision to field her.
- The Election Commission warned Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi for ‘Modiji ki Sena’ remark. It also banned Madhya Pradesh Congress’ campaign which uses ‘chowkidar chor hai’ slogan. The AIADMK, meanwhile, lodged an EC complaint against DMK leaders MK Stalin and Dayanidhi Maran.
- BSP chief Mayawati accused the EC of being anti-Dalit and claimed that Adityanath violated the EC ban on campaigning. The Congress also accused the EC of bias for suspending an official after PM Modi’s chopper was checked in Odisha.
- At an election rally in Karnataka, Modi asked if the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) vote bank was in Bagalkot or Balakot.
- The West Bengal Congress chief said his party will not seek TMC’s support to form government after the elections.
- Congress President Rahul Gandhi refused to give clarity on whether his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will contest the election from Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency. Varanasi is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s seat.
10.40 pm: The voter turnouts in the states were 76.42% in Assam, 62.04% in Bihar, 45.64% in Jammu and Kashmir, 67.96% in Karnataka, 61.76% in Maharashtra, 77.86% in Manipur, 58.38% in Odisha, 71.07% in Tamil Nadu, 62.06% in Uttar Pradesh, 76.42% in West Bengal, and 73.05% in Chhattisgarh. Puducherry recorded 77.49% voting.
10.39 pm: The overall estimated voter turnout for the second phase of polling at 10 pm was 67.55%, the Election Commission says.
10.27 pm: Nearly 1.42 crore people voted in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday, the poll panel says. Of these, 771 were transgender people. The voting took place in 8,751 polling stations.
10.20 pm: As much as 62.30% of the electorate voted in the second phase of elections in Uttar Pradesh, the chief electoral officer says. This is nearly 0.5% higher than the voting percentage in 2014.
10.13 pm: Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy alleges that Modi is playing with the emotions of the people in the name of religion and terrorism. Kumaraswamy wonders in a tweet why Modi wants a propaganda movie and a TV channel if he is confident about his development work.
10.04 pm: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant claims that the Congress is not serious about the Lok Sabha elections in the state, and therefore none of its leaders can be seen campaigning there, PTI reports. On the other hand, Sawant says, the Bharatiya Janata Party is serious about about both the Lok Sabha seats in Goa.
9.55 pm: Tripura Congress President Pradyot Kishore Deb Burman has slapped a man inside Khowai Police Station, ANI reports. The man was reportedly arrested for attacking convoy of Pragya Deb Burman, the Congress candidate from the state.
9.45 pm: The voter turnout in Tamil Nadu at 9 pm was 70.90%, the Election Commission says.
8.55 pm: PM Narendra Modi requests voters for blessings in Kerala, ANI reports. “The faith and affection towards the BJP and me has only increased over time,” Modi says. “Today I am here to seek your blessings so that we continue to convert your faith and affection to record development.”
8.32 pm: The poll panel says it took down 25 Facebook cases of paid news, 38 on Twitter and two on YouTube and WhatsApp each, Hindustan Times reports.
7.56 pm: The Election Commmission says 66% turnout was recorded in the second phase of elections across the country.
7.54 pm: The alliance of the Aam Aadmi Party and the Jannayak Janata Party have announced four candidates in Haryana, reports News18. The JJP will fight from Sirsa, Hisar, Rohtak and Bhiwani-Mahenergarh while the AAP will contest from Ambala, Karnal and Faridabad. Dushyant Chautala, who formed the JJP after a split in the Indian National Lok Dal, is contesting from Hisar.
Dynastic politics: In Haryana, the feuding Chautala family is rewriting the principle of succession
7.46 pm: The man who had hurled a shoe at BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao during a press conference at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi has been released by the Delhi Police after interrogation, reports ANI. “Nothing incriminating was found,” the police tell the news agency. “No complaint was received against him. His motive was to gain media’s attention.”
7.41 pm: Paramilitary forces had to open fire near Arakkonam to disperse crowds, an unidentified senior police official tells PTI. More details are awaited.
7.31 pm: Polling has ended in 37 out of 38 Lok Sabha constituencies in Tamil Nadu, reports Hindustan Times. Voting in Madurai will conclue at 8 pm.
7.23 pm: J&K BJP writes to Election Commission demanding the registration of a first information report against Ghulam Nabi Azad, Vikramaditya Singh, and Waqar Rasool Wani for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct.
7.18 pm: Chhattisgarh saw 71% turnout, says Election Commission. The second phase was mostly peaceful, says the poll body.
7.08 pm: The CPI(M) in Tripura accuses the BJP of resorting to “massive rigging” during elections in West Tripura Lok Sabha on April 11, reports PTI. “The massive rigging in the first phase of polls was the manifestation of the BJP’s frustration after realising that its support base has eroded in the state,” claims CPI(M) state Secretary Gautam Das.
7.05 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes a dig at Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy. “The honourable chief minister of Karnataka says talking about the valour of our armed forces makes his vote-bank unhappy,” he claims on Twitter. “Mr Chief Minister, what votebank is this? May I remind Congress-JD(S) that polls are in Bagalkot not Balakot across the borders!”
6.52 pm: Farooq Ahmad Dar, who was used as a “human shield” by the Army during the bye-election to the Srinagar parliamentary seat in 2017, has been posted on election duty, Budgam Chief Medical Officer Nazir Ahmad tells PTI. Dar works as a sweeper in the health department.
6.41 pm: Ram Madhav alleges PDP President Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah have “concerns only for terrorists, militants and not for general citizens of the country”. Their criticism has no meaning, he tells ANI. Earlier in the day, Abdullah and Mufti took jibes at each other’s association with the BJP.
Mehbooba Mufti tells Omar Abdullah to eat almonds to improve memory as both spar over Pragya Thakur
How can Pragya Thakur contest polls if she is on bail on health grounds?’ asks Omar Abdullah
6.18 pm: BJP leader Ram Madhav defends Pragya Singh Thakur. “Accusation of saffron terror, Hindu terror was a creation of UPA,” ANI quotes him as saying. “No such thing existed or exists now. Some people were wrongfully put in jail. Nobody can question us on constitutional validity of putting up a candidate who has just allegations against her.”
6.16 pm: The Election Commission says the turnout is 61.12% as of 5.41 pm.
Assam (5 seats): 73.32%
Bihar (5 seats): 58.14%
Jammu and Kashmir (2 seats): 43.37%
Karnataka (14 seats): 61.84%
Maharashtra (10 seats): 55.37%
Manipur (one seat): 74.69%
Odisha (5 seats): 57.41%
Tamil Nadu (38 seats): 61.52%
Uttar Pradesh (8 seats): 58.12%
West Bengal (3 seats): 75.27%
Chhattisgarh (3 seats): 68.7%
6.07 pm: The BJP defends its decision to field Malegaon blast case accused Pragya Singh Thakur from Bhopal. The party terms Thakur’s contest against Congress leader a fight against the Opposition party’s conspiracy to defame Hindus. Digvijaya Singh is believed to be the person who coined the terms “Hindu terror” and “saffron terror”.
6 pm: The Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi alleges that the names of nearly 500 voters in Tindivanam town of Villupuram constituency were missing from electoral rolls. Villupuram is a reserved constituency. In 2014, the AIADMK won the seat by 1,93,367 votes.
5.42 pm: At a press conference, Pragya Singh Thakur alleges she was tortured by jail officials after being arrested in connection with the Malegaon blast case, reports ANI. Thakur, the BJP candidate in Bhopal, breaks down while narrating her story.
5.37 pm: The father of a victim of the 2008 Malegaon blast has approached has filed an intervention application in a special NIA court in Mumbai, urging it to restrain BJP leader Pragya Singh Thakur from contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Bhopal, reports Live Law. Thakur received bail in the case on health grounds.
5.20 pm: Four people have been hurt in violence in Ambur and Gudiyatham Assembly segments in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore district, reports The New Indian Express. Bye-elections are being held in the two Assembly seats. The violence started when AIADMK workers allegedly threw stones at the car of R Balasubramani, the AMMK candidate in Ambur. Former AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran leads the AMMK.
5.12 pm: Odisha Chief Electoral Officcer Surendra Kumar orders repolling in four booths in the Assembly constituencies of Sundergarh, Bonai, and Daspalla. “Technical problems arose due to lapses on part of the polling officers, action will be taken against those officers for dereliction of duty,” ANI quotes him as saying.
4.49 pm: Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed apologises for campaigning for a Trinamool Congress candidate in West Bengal, PTI reports. He calls it an “inadvertent mistake”.
4.46 pm: The BJP says it will contest the election in Bhopal as a fight against the Congress’ “conspiracy” to defame Hinduism by linking it to terrorism, PTI reports. The party has decided to field Malegaon blasts accused Pragya Singh Thakur from the constituency.
“Digvijaya Singh was the face of this conspiracy,” says BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao.
4.37 pm: Tehseen Poonawalla files a complaint with the Election Commission against Pragya Singh Thakur’s candidature in the Lok Sabha elections on the grounds that she faces terror allegations. Poonawall, who describes himself as a “political trendwatcher” in his Twitter profile, cites the inability of Hardik Patel to contest elections because of his conviction in a rioting case.
4.31 pm: The Election Commission in Madhya Pradesh bans the ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ advertisement of the Congress, reports IANS. The Bharatiya Janata Party had complained to the Chief Election Officer, calling the ad offensive and defamatory.
4.27 pm: Aam Aadmi Party leader Gopal Rai says his party made “one last effort” to form an alliance with the Congress in Delhi. “But can’t understand that after almost finalising the matter and seat sharing why the Congress stepped back last evening,” he says, according to ANI.
4.25 pm: Shatrughan Sinha, whose Congress party has decided to field a candidate against his wife Poonam Sinha, tells reporters: “It is my duty as the head of the family and a husband to support my family.” Poonam Sinha has been fielded by the Samajwadi Party.
4.12 pm: A 95-year-old man collapses and dies while waiting in the voters’ queue in Sanakhemundi Assembly constituency of Odisha, reports the Hindustan Times.
4.07 pm: Speaking in Bagalkot in Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says, “...if you want to see a strong government, look at Delhi; if you want to see a helpless government, see Karnataka.”
He says the Congress wants a “helpless” government, and mocks Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy for his “natak” [drama].
3.57 pm: The turnout in Maharashtra till 3 pm is 46.63%.
3.56 pm: Voter turnouts in West Bengal at 3 pm:
3.54 pm: The Congress says it has submitted 33 complaints to the Election Commission about glitches in electronic voting machines at some polling booths across the 10 seats in Maharashtra that are voting in the second phase, PTI reports.
3.47 pm: Bangladeshi actor Ghazi Abdul Noor has been asked to leave India immediately for taking part in a political rally in West Bengal, says the Ministry of Home Affairs, according to PTI.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Home Affairs had cancelled the business visa granted to Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed who campaigned in West Bengal for ruling Trinamool Congress. Ahmed has also asked to leave India and was blacklisted.
3.43 pm: Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi leader D Ravikumar, who is contesting from Villupuram seat, says names of close to 500 Muslim and Dalit voters were missing in Tindivanam town, which falls in the constituency.
However, senior government officials have denied the allegation. “It is a rumour,” says Mercy Ramya, sub-collector, Tindivanam. “We have not received any such complaints from the voters.”
3.40 pm: Poonam Sinha, the wife of Congress leader Shatrughan Sinha, files her nomination from the Lucknow constituency, ANI reports. She has been fielded on the seat by the Samajwadi Party against BJP’s Rajnath Singh.
3.39 pm: In Chhattisgarh, about 59.72% voters have turned up till 3 pm.
3.23 pm: The Election Commission warns BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi after his remark referring to the Army as “Modiji ki Sena”. The poll body says that Naqvi’s statement was not in line with the spirit of the EC’s advisories, and asks him to be careful in the future.
Naqvi had made the remark on April 3 in Rampur.
3.22 pm: The voter turnout in Manipur is 67.5% till 3 pm.
3.20 pm: West Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra tells PTI that his party will not seek support from the Trinamool Congress to form the next government or support her bid to become the prime minister in case the general elections lead to a hung Parliament. Mitra calls Trinamool’s Mamata Banerjee the “biggest and most-trusted ally” of RSS-BJP.
3 pm: Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi files a defamation suit against Rahul Gandhi for his remark against people with the Modi surname, PTI reports. The matter will come up for hearing on April 22.
Sushil Kumar Modi had said on Tuesday: “I was deeply hurt by Rahul Gandhi’s statement wherein he remarked that all those who are chor [thieves] share the Modi surname.”
2.58 pm: Speaking in Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh, BJP chief Amit Shah claims that there was mourning at two place after the Balakot air strikes: in Pakistan and at Rahul Gandhi’s office.
“Why was Rahul Baba and co pained by the killing of terrorists?” Shah asks. “Are they cousins of the terrorists?”
2.51 pm: Congress leader Ahmed Patel comments on the suspension of an observer in Odisha for allegedly inspecting the prime minister’s helicopter, says: “There have been instances where during polls EC was allowed to check convoys of both current & the former Congress President. SPG protectees can’t be frisked personally.”
Patel asks: “What message is being sent? Law is special for some? The question is simple. If SPG protectees of the Congress party can be subjected to inspection why is the same not applicable to the BJP?”
2.48 pm: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav files his nomination from Azamgarh constituency in Uttar Pradesh, reports ANI.
2.40 pm: The voter turnout in Maharashtra is 35.4% till 1 pm.
2.38 pm: Actor Vivek Oberoi says about the screening of PM Narendra Modi on Wednesday for Election Commission officials: “We asked them how did you like the film?Can’t tell you their response but we were happy with their answer. Only request is that the film should be allowed to release.”
The Election Commission had first stopped the biopic from being released, but the Supreme Court then asked the poll panel to watch the film first.
2.29 pm: A static surveillance squad seizes Rs 4 lakh in cash from the vehicle of a BJP Assembly election candidate in Odisha’s Dhenkanal district, PTI reports. Ashok Nayak is a candidate from Hindol seat. He could not provide satisfactory answers about the source of the money, Superintendent of Police Anupama James says.
2.11 pm: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav expresses concern over reports of EVM malfunctioning in some parts of Uttar Pradesh, PTI reports. He asks the Election Commission to take immediate steps to rectify them.
1.59 pm: Villagers of Mangoli Kala in Fatehpur Sikri boycott elections over lack of irrigation facilities in the village, reports ANI. A polling official says not a single person had cast their vote at booth number 41.
1.54 pm: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah demands the cancellation of the bail given to Malegaon blasts accused Pragya Singh Thakur after she was named an election candidate by the BJP.
Read more here:
‘How can Pragya Thakur contest polls if she is on bail on health grounds?’ asks Omar Abdullah
1.47 pm: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh mocks Congress’s promises to eradicate poverty, reports PTI. At an election rally in Howrah, West Bengal, Singh says the Congress has been promising to eradicate poverty since the days of Jawaharlal Nehru.
“Now, Rahul Gandhi is also assuring that,” he says. “The fact is the day the country becomes free of the Congress, it will also get freedom from poverty.” He also criticises the Trinamool Congress, claiming that democracy ceased to exist under its rule in the state.
1.44 pm: Voter turnout for three seats in West Bengal at 1 pm:
Jalpaiguri (SC): 54.73%
1.43 pm: Here’s the voter turnout at 1 pm:
West Bengal: 51.60%.
1.40 pm: Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati accuses Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath of violating the ban that Election Commission imposed on him for breaching the Model Code of Conduct. The ban on Adityanath will end on Friday morning.
“He [Adityanath] is deriving electoral mileage by broadcasting them [visits to temples] on media, but the Election Commission is lenient on him. Why?” she says on Twitter.
Read more here:
Mayawati accuses Adityanath of violating Election Commission’s ban on campaigning, calls EC biased
1.37 pm: A man hurls a shoe at BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao during a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Delhi, reports ANI.
1.35 pm: Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his son Yathindra Siddaramaiah cast their votes at a polling booth in Mysuru, reports ANI.
1.29 pm: Election officials order an inquiry after a few voters recorded their voting process at a polling booth in Osmanabad, Maharashtra and posted it on Facebook, reports PTI. An unidentified police official says posting the video on social media is a clear violation of the Election Commission’s guidelines and against the principles of secret ballot.
As per Election Commission norms, voters are not allowed to carry their mobile phones within a 100-metre radius of polling stations on the day of voting.
1.23 pm: Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo says 305 electronic voting machines were replaced in the state as they were malfunctioning, reports Hindustan Times.
1.21 pm: A tussle breaks out between BJP and Trinamool Congress supporters in Chopra in Raiganj constituency in West Bengal. Voting machines in booth number 112 ransacked in the tussle, reports News18.
1.14 pm: Karnataka minister DK Shivakumar casts his vote at a polling booth in Kanakapura taluk, reports ANI.
1.10 pm: Samajwadi Party candidate for Lucknow, Poonam Sinha, holds a road show after filing her nomination paper, reports ANI. Poonam Sinha’s husband and Congress leader Shatrughan Sinha and Samajwadi Party MP Dimple Yadav accompanied her on the road show.
1 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi says he will neither confirm or deny if his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will contest the election from Varanasi.
Read more here: ‘Suspense not a bad thing’: Rahul Gandhi refuses to say if Priyanka will contest from Varanasi
12.55 pm: DMK candidate from Thoothukhudi M Kanimozhi casts her vote at a polling booth in Chennai.
12.51 pm: Actor and politician Rajinikanth votes at a booth in Chennai.
12.50 pm: Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan waits in line at a polling booth with daughter, actor Shruti Haasan, in Chennai.
12.48 pm: Crude bombs allegedly hurled in Chopra, Raiganj constituency in West Bengal, reports News18. BJP State President Dilip Ghosh says the area is “filled with anti-socials”. “We have informed the EC,” he says. “No arrangements were made of the voter’s safety and police are working at the behest of the ruling TMC party. If adequate measures are not taken, we will take to the streets to protest.”
12.43 pm: Communist Party of India (Marxist) alleges that the Trinamool Congress is responsible for the attack on its candidate Mohammad Salim’s car in Islampur, West Bengal, reports ANI.
Read more here:
Bengal: CPI(M) candidate’s car allegedly vandalised in Raiganj during phase two of elections
12.37 pm: Poll percentage in Bihar at 11 am is 31.62%.
12.36 pm: West Bengal records 33.45% turnout at 11 am. Here’s the turnout in three seats:
Jalpaiguri (SC): 36.22%
12.35 pm: Voter turnout in Chhattisgarh till 11.15 am is 30.47%.
12.33 pm: The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam files a complaint with the chief election commissioner against Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam candidate, Dayanidhi Maran, for allegedly violating the poll code, reports News18. The AIADMK alleged that Maran urged people to cast their votes for a “change of government”. Maran is the DMK’s candidate for Central Chennai Lok Sabha constituency.
12.27 pm: BJP candidate from Amroha, Uttar Pradesh, alleges fake voting, reports ANI. Kanwar Singh Tanwar says women wearing burkhas are not being checked for their identity. “I heard a man wearing burkha was also caught,” he says.
12.24 pm: Suspected Maoists trigger a blast in Rajnandgaon district in Chhattisgarh where polling for Lok Sabha elections is under way, PTI reports. No casualties have been reported.
“The rebels detonated the Improvised Explosive Device around 10.30 am between Medha and Dabba villages, falling under Manpur-Mohla Assembly segment, when a team of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police team was out on area domination operation in view of polling in the area,” an unidentified senior police official said.
According to ANI, one jawan of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police suffered injuries.
12.20 pm: Union minister and BJP leader Maneka Gandhi files her nomination from Sultanpur Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh, reports ANI.
12.18 pm: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah responds to BJP naming Malegaon blast accused Pragya Singh Thakur as its Bhopal candidate. “BJP have given ticket to a candidate who is not only an accused in a terror case but is also out on bail on health grounds,” he says, according to ANI. “If her health condition doesn’t permit her to be in jail, how does it permit her to contest polls?”
On Wednesday, BJP chief Amit Shah had said that his party had decided to field Thakur against Digvijaya Singh in Bhopal because he was “the person who coined the term saffron terror”.
12.15 pm: BJP MP and candidate from Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, Bhola Singh, says the killing of a police inspector in December has not harmed the party’s prospects in the constituency, reports India Today. He says: “It was nobody’s fault. Public was angry and public has no face, no religion, no caste.”
Violence broke out in Bulandshahr last year following rumours of cow slaughter in Mahaw village. Police officer Subodh Kumar Singh and a 20-year-old villager died in the violence.
Mahaw, Chingrawathi and Nayabas villages under Bulandshahr constituency have reportedly recorded low turnout, according to News18.
12.02 pm: District Magistrate of Bulandshahar, Abhay Singh, places BJP candidate and sitting MP Bhola Singh under house arrest for seeking blessings of voters at a polling booth and allegedly campaigning at the booth in JP Janta Inter College, reports Hindustan Times.
11.59 am: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah says he hopes the Centre and the Electon Commission gives the people of Jammu and Kashmir an elected government since Lok Sabha polls will conclude soon, reports ANI.
11.51 am: Samajwadi Party candidate Poonam Sinha files her nomination for Lucknow seat. Poonam Sinha is the wife of Congress leader Shatrughan Singh. She had joined the Samajwadi Party on Tuesday.
11.42 am: Violence breaks out in North Bengal, according to The Indian Express. Unknown people allegedly attack Communist Party of India (Marxist) candidate Mohammed Salim’s vehicle in Islampur under Raiganj constituency. Voters stage protests alleging Trinamool Congress workers seized booths in Islampur, reports News18.
11.38 am: Voter turnout in Uttar Pradesh till 11 am is 24.31%.
11.36 am: Modi claims the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat is not intended to disrespect former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, PTI reports.
11.34 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says terrorism has been contained to “two and a half districts” in Kashmir and no bomb blasts have been reported elsewhere over the past five years, PTI reports. He is speaking at a public meeting in Gujarat.
11.32 am: The voter turnout in Manipur till 11 am is 32.18%. Chhattisgarh records 25.6% turnout.
11.31 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a rally Amreli, Gujarat. He thanks the people for the “grooming” he received in the state, reports PTI.
11.28 am: Security personnel use tear gas shells to disperse locals who blocked National Highway 34 during a protest in West Bengal, reports ANI. The protestors allege that they were stopped by unknown people from casting their votes at Digirpar polling booth in Chopra, North Dinajpur.
11.25 am: National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah says the people are far more aware of the situation in the nation this time and are afraid of what is happening in the country, reports NDTV.
11.19 am: Voters in Garhi Ahbaran village in Sadabad tehsil, Uttar Pradesh, boycott elections due to lack of development in Hathras constituency, reports Hindustan Times.
11.16 am: BJP General Secretary and candidate from Raiganj constituency in West Bengal, Debasree Chaudhuri, alleges Trinamool Congress workers tried to capture the booth at Raiganj Coronation High School, reports ANI. “TMC workers were trying to capture booth,” she says. “They were campaigning among Muslims there. This isn’t an election campaign.”
11.11 am: BJP candidate from Mathura, Hema Malini, attributes the development in Mathura to her efforts, reports ANI. “SP-BSP are only engaged in fighting with each other,” he says. “There is a huge Modi wave here.”
10.56 am: Polling has temporarily stopped at a booth number in Solapur’s Shastri Nagar in Maharashtra due to a faulty electronic voting machine, reports ANI.
10.51 am: Former Prime Minister HD Devegowda and his wife cast their votes at a polling station in Hassan’s Paduvalahippe, reports ANI. Devegowda is contesting from Tumkur constituency.
10.49 am: A flying squad of the Election Commission seizes Rs 11.85 lakh cash in Sion area of Mumbai City district, reports ANI.
10.45 am: The Congress criticises the Election Commission for suspending a general observer after a flying squad team in Sambalpur region inspected Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s helicopter.
“An official was suspended by ECI for doing his job of inspecting vehicles,” says the party. “The rule cited governs the use of official vehicles for campaigning. It DOES NOT exempt PM’s vehicle from being searched. What is Modi carrying in the helicopter that he doesn’t want India to see?”
Read more here: Congress accuses EC of bias for suspending official after PM Modi’s chopper was checked in Odisha
10.41 am: Union Minister and BJP candidate from Buxar, Bihar, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, cast his vote at a polling station in Bhagalpur, reports ANI.
10.23 am: A polling official deputed at a booth in Kanker, Chhattisgarh, dies after suffering a heart attack, reports ANI.
10.21 am: Voter turnout in Bihar till 10 am is 19.5%.
10.20 am: Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar and Fatehpur Sikri candidate Raj Babbar casts his vote at a polling station in Mathura, reports ANI.
10.18 am: Protests break out in Chopra under Darjeeling constituency in West Bengal after villagers allege that a person, said to be a Trinamool Congress supporter, stopped them from casting their votes, reports Hindustan Times. Policemen escorted the villagers to the polling station, but villagers said they did not have faith on the state police and demanded that central security forces escort them
10.08 am: Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy says dynasty politics is not an important issue now. “Country’s problems are the main issue,” he says, according to ANI. “Only because of dynasty politics and regional politics, this country developed in several states. We are not bothered about criticism from BJP.”
10.04 am: The voter turnout in West Bengal till 9 am is 16.78%. Jalpaiguri records 16.84% turnout, Darjeeling 16.14% and Raiganj 17.45%.
9.59 am: A complete shutdown is being observed across the Kashmir valley in view of the second phase of Lok Sabha polls, reports Greater Kashmir. The Joint Resistance Leadership called for the shutdown.
Business establishments are closed in Srinagar, while vehicles remained off the roads. Police and paramilitary forces have been deployed in sensitive places across the Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary constituency seat.
9.57 am: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi says: “When you vote today, remember that you vote for Nyay. Nyay for our unemployed youth; for our struggling farmers; for the small traders whose businesses were destroyed by Demonetisation; for those who were persecuted because of their caste or religion.”
The Congress has promised a minimum income guarantee scheme or Nyuntam Aay Yojana, in short NYAY.
9.53 am: Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam chief TTV Dhinakaran casts his vote at a polling station in Besant Nagar in Chennai South parliamentary constituency, reports ANI. He claims the Election Commission is acting on the government’s behest, reports News18. “People are against this government and they know that this government uses money for votes.”
9.49 am: The poll percentage in Uttar Pradesh till 9 am is 10.76%.
9.47 am: Voter turnout in Tamil Nadu till 9 am is 13.48% and 13.4% in Chhattisgarh.
9.46 am: Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy urges citizens to vote for the “future and development of the country depends on them”, reports News18. “It’s my personal request, not only for me but this elections is important for everyone, several problems need to be solved,” he says. The government has neglected the farmers’ community.”
9.42 am: Polling under way in Srinagar parliamentary constituency of Jammu and Kashmir amid tight security, reports PTI. National Conference President Farooq Abdullah is seeking a re-election from the Srinagar seat.
Police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed at polling stations in all three districts – Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal – of Srinagar parliamentary constituency.
9.39 am: Voter turnout in Manipur till 9 am is 14.99%.
9.37 am: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam President MK Stalin casts his vote at a polling booth at SIET College in Teynampet, Chennai, reports ANI.
9.31 am: Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, his wife Anitha Kumaraswamy and their son and Janata Dal (Secular) candidate from Mandya, Nikhil Kumaraswamy, cast their votes at a polling station in Ramanagara, reports ANI.
9.29 am: Here’s the voter turnout till 9 am:
Assam (5 seats): 9.51%,
Jammu and Kashmir (2 seats): 0.99%,
Karnataka (14 seats): 1.14%
Maharashtra (10 seats): 0.85%
Manipur (one seat): 1.78%
Odisha (5 seats): 2.15%
Tamil Nadu (38 seats): 0.81%
Tripura (one seat): 0.00%
Uttar Pradesh (8 seats): 3.99%
West Bengal (3 seats): 0.55%
Chhattisgarh (3 seats): 7.75%
9.26 am: A grenade blast was reported at Bakaliaghat in Karbi Anglong, Assam on Wednesday, reports News18. Karbi Anglong falls under Autonomous district Lok Sabha constituency where polling is under way today. No casualties were reported. The newly-formed Dimasa National Liberation Army, which had called for a 36-hour bandh in Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao districts on Wednesday, is suspected to be behind the blast
9.20 am: Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh casts his vote at a polling booth in Imphal, reports ANI.
9.18 am: Election officials seize over Rs 129 crore cash, gold and precious metals worth over Rs 284 crore from across Tamil Nadu in the run up to the elections, reports PTI.
9.16 am: At 9 am, the voter turnout in Bihar is 12.27%.
9.14 am: Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and his wife, Kannika, cast their votes at a polling booth in Koratagere, Tumkur, reports ANI. Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) supremo HD Devegowda is contesting from Tumkur.
9.11 am: Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati takes a jibe at the BJP and Congress. “Today is the second phase of polling and the BJP and PM Modi seem to be just as nervous as the Congress was during the last general elections for fear of defeat,” she says on Twitter. “The real reason is the narrow thinking and actions against the poor, the labourers, the farmers, as well as Dalit, backward and Muslim of all society.”
9.08 am: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam candidate for Thoothukudi, Kanimozhi, casts her vote at a polling station in Alwarpet, Chennai, reports ANI. “People in the Opposition have been harassed, raids targeted at Opposition candidates,” she says. “BJP have completely taken over the AIADMK.”
9.06 am: The Congress symbol was seen outside a polling booth in Katihar, Bihar, reports ANI. Five parliamentary constituencies in the state are voting today.
9.04 am: Voting resumes at two polling booths in Bolangir Lok Sabha constituency in Odisha, reports ANI. Polling was stopped as the electronic voting machines malfunctioned.
9.02 am: Karnataka minister HD Revanna offers prayers at a temple in Paduvalahippe village in Hassan before casting his vote, reports ANI. His son, Prajwal Revanna, is contesting from Hassan.
8.59 am: Voting is yet to begin at a booth in Gantholi village of Govardhan block, Mathura due to a malfunctioning Electronic Voting Machine, reports ANI.
8.56 am: The Election Commission allows voters in Madurai parliamentary constituency to cast their votes until 8 pm as the Madurai Chithirai festival commenced today, reports Hindustan Times.
8.53 am: A few polling booths in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh are water-logged due to heavy rain on Wednesday evening, reports Hindustan Times.
8.48 am: Independent candidate from Bengaluru Central, Prakash Raj, waits in a queue to cast his vote, reports ANI.
8.46 am: Over 15,000 cases of alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct have been registered in Maharashtra since March 10, PTI reports. Valuables worth Rs 118.12 crore have been seized.
“The enforcing departments [Income Tax and police] also lodged total 15,095 FIRs against the offenders for violating the model code of conduct, with most of the cases pertaining to storage and distribution of illicit liquor, followed by the possession of firearms,” says Additional Chief Electoral Officer Dilip Shinde.
8.42 am: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman congratulates voters for turning up in large numbers, reports News18. “We have got a positive response and our candidate [Tejasvi Surya) is a strong one,” she says.
8.37 am: Five places in Beed, Maharashtra have reported malfunction in EVM and VVPAT since 7 am, ANI quotes the constituency’s District Magistrate Astik Kumar Pandey as saying. “However all those machines have been replaced immediately and polling is going smoothly at all locations,” he says.
8.33 am: Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy casts his vote, reports ANI.
8.30 am: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman casts her vote at a polling booth in Jayanagar of Bangalore South Parliamentary constituency, ANI reports. Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla cast her vote at a polling station in Imphal, according to ANI.
8.29 am: Voter turnout in Bihar till 8 am is 5.73%.
8.25 am: Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil Gowda is contesting against Sumalatha, wife of former state minister Ambareesh, from the Mandya seat for which polling is under way. Sumalatha is an independent candidate and the BJP has extended support to her.
Kumaraswamy had criticised actor Yash campaigning for Sumalatha. “It is owing to producers like me investing in films that actors like Yash got in to tinsel world and flourished. But real life is different from reel life,” Kumaraswamy had said on Tuesday, the last day of campaigning in Mandya, reported NDTV.
8.15 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweets: “Dear Citizens of India, Phase 2 of the Lok Sabha polls start today. I am sure all those whose seats are polling today will strengthen our democracy by exercising their franchise. I hope more youngsters head to the polling booths and vote!”
8.10 am: Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami cast his vote at a polling station in Edappadi, Selam, ANI reports.
8 am: The VVPAT in polling station number 200 in Silchar, which was not working properly earlier, is fine now, says Sector Officer Sahadat Ali.
7.54 am: Congress leader Sushilkumar Shinde casts his vote at a polling station in Solapur.
Shinde, who is pitted against BJP’s Jaisiddeshwar Swami and Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi’s Prakash Ambedkar in Solapur, has said this would be his last election. “I never said it publicly before, but am saying now, I am not going to contest any Assembly or Lok Sabha election in future,” he said on Wednesday, according to PTI.
7.50 am: In West Bengal, polling is yet to begin at booth number 29/134 at Islampur Hindi FP School of Uttar Dinajpur, in Raiganj Parliamentary constituency, as the EVM is not functioning, ANI reports.
7.45 am: A Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail machine is not working properly at a polling station in Silchar, ANI reports.
7.30 am: The Lok Sabha election in Vellore, scheduled for today, was cancelled amid allegations of suspected use of money to influence voters. Polling in Tripura East Lok Sabha seat too was postponed to April 23 over law and order concerns.
7.25 am: The Election Commission has deployed 194 companies of central forces in West Bengal in the three constituencies that are going to polls today, PTI reports.
7.12 am: Nearly 15.8 crore voters are eligible to vote in this second phase and nearly 1,600 candidates are in the fray, PTI reports.
7.10 am: Congress leader P Chidambaram casts his vote at a polling station in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu, while actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth casts his vote at a polling station in Chennai Central parliamentary constituency.
7.05 am: Voting has begun for 95 constituencies in 11 states and one Union Territory in the second phase of Lok Sabha elections, ANI reports.
7 am: Here are the top stories from Wednesday:
- The Bharatiya Janata Party named Malegaon blasts accused Pragya Singh Thakur as its candidate for the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat. Thakur will contest against senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh. Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti lashed out at the BJP and tweeted: “Imagine the anger if I’d field a terror accused.”
- The Election Commission suspended the general observer of Sambalpur parliamentary constituency in Odisha until further orders, after a flying squad team in the region inspected Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s helicopter.
- Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh said talks for an alliance with the Congress for the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi have been called off after the Congress refused the proposal for a tie-up in Haryana.
- Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad said he will not contest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency. Azad’s statement was a U-turn from his decision last month to contest against the prime minister.
- The Congress pitched self-styled spiritual guru Acharya Pramod Krishnam as its Lucknow candidate for the Lok Sabha polls, a day after the Samajwadi Party fielded Shatrughan Sinha’s wife Poonam Sinha from there.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the Rahul Gandhi-led Congress of abusing him because he is “from a backward community”.