The fifth phase of voting for the Lok Sabha elections were held on Monday in which voters across seven states in 51 constituencies cast their ballot. Polling will be held in two more phases on May 12 and May 19, and the results of all seven phases declared on May 23.

The Election Commission said that the total turnout in the fifth phase was 62.56%.

Polling took place on five seats in Bihar, two seats in Jammu and Kashmir, seven constituencies in Madhya Pradesh, 12 seats in Rajasthan, 14 in Uttar Pradesh, seven in West Bengal and four in Jharkhand. At 7 pm, 57.72% of the electorate had voted in Bihar, 17.07% in Jammu and Kashmir, 63.51% in Madhya Pradesh, 63.36% in Rajasthan, 55.17% in Uttar Pradesh, 74.15% in West Bengal and 64.23% in Jharkhand.

The first phase of polling was held on April 11, the second on April 18, the third on April 23 and the fourth on April 29.

Complaints and controversies

Some untoward incidents were reported from West Bengal, though the polling in the state was peaceful compared to the previous phases. Arjun Singh, the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from Barrackpore, got into a scuffle with police personnel. He claimed that workers of the Trinamool Congress attacked him. Singh also accused Trinamool Congress workers of kidnapping the son of a woman voter. The BJP demanded that a re-election be held in the constituency, claiming that the Trinamool Congress had rigged the polls.

In the evening, a scuffle broke out between Trinamool Congress MP from Howrah, Prasun Banerjee, and security forces at a polling booth in the town.

BJP candidate from Hooghly Lok Sabha constituency Locket Chatterjee organised a sit-in protest at the district magistrate’s office, after her car was allegedly vandalised. Chatterjee had earlier claimed that the Trinamool Congress had rigged elections in her constituency. She also got into an argument with the party’s supporters. However, later in the evening, the poll panel filed a first information report against Chatterjee for confronting a polling officer.

Trinamool Congress leader Maharaja Nag allegedly accompanied a voter up to the EVM and pressed the button inside a polling booth in Arambagh Lok Sabha constituency. The poll panel sacked the polling officer of the booth.

The BJP wrote to the Election Commission claiming that violence took place in all seven constituencies, and demanded re-elections in them. The saffron party said there was “rigging of booths, destruction of electronic voting machines and brutal attacks on BJP candidates”.

Violence was also reported from parts of Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh. Suspected militants hurled a grenade at a polling station in Chatpora locality of Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir. A petrol bomb was thrown at a polling station in Bhatnoor village of Tral.

The Congress sought re-polling in several booths in Shopian and Pulwama districts in Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency, alleging that the Peoples Democratic Party and National Conference indulged in bogus voting in many areas.

In Arambagh constituency in West Bengal, polling began late at booth number 256 in Tarakeswar, due to alleged glitches in the EVM and VVPAT machines. There were EVM problems at three booths in Howrah and one at Uluberia constituency. EVM malfunctioning was also reported from four booths in Amethi Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh.

Re-polling was held at five booths in three districts in Andhra Pradesh, after some EVMs malfunctioned.

BJP candidate from Amethi Smriti Irani claimed that Congress workers captured some booths in the constituency. She added that she has tweeted an alert to the administration and the Election Commission. However, the Congress dismissed the allegations, and said that Irani is “looking for excuses” to justify her defeat.

The BJP filed a complaint with the poll panel that Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav used two minor boys for campaigning in Balrampur district in Uttar Pradesh.