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Capital votes in crucial 3rd phase

Capital votes in crucial 3rd phase
Highlights

Delhi: Capital Votes in Crucial 3rd Phase, Some 120 million people Thursday voted in 14 States and Union Territories in a critical third phase of General Election to pick 91 of the 543 MPs, including seven in New Delhi whose control is considered vital for any party to rule India.

  • Voting held for 91 seats in 11 States, 3 UTs
  • First two phases saw voting for only 13 seats
  • This round is crucial as it includes Kerala, Delhi, Haryana where BJP drew a blank in 2009
  • Fate of seven Union Ministers sealed in EVMs
  • Officials manhandled in presence of WB Minister

New Delhi: Some 120 million people Thursday voted in 14 States and Union Territories in a critical third phase of General Election to pick 91 of the 543 MPs, including seven in New Delhi whose control is considered vital for any party to rule India. In what could be called a carnival of democracy, men and women cutting across social and economic strata poured into 140,850 polling centres from the time they opened at 7 in the morning for the 11-hour balloting. In majority of the constituencies that went to polls on Thursday, people appeared to have voted for or against Modi. It is particularly so, in the 10 western UP constituencies where the Muslim voters constitute 30-40 per cent.

Delhi: Capital Votes in Crucial 3rd Phase

The entire exercise, involving tens of thousands of staff and security personnel, was “overall very peaceful,” Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi told the media in the evening. The overall voting percentage was almost 63. About 50 per cent of the electorate voted in eight hours of brisk polling, with men and women of all age groups queuing up at the 140,850 voting centres from the time they opened at 7 am. Although the staggered nine-phase balloting began April 7, the first two rounds involved only 13 constituencies from the country's northeast where the BJP is not a major player. This round is also crucial because it includes three states where the Bharatiya Janata Party failed to win a single seat in 2009: Kerala, Delhi and Haryana. For the same reason, the Congress, which won 50 more seats in 2009 over the 2004 Lok Sabha battle, has to retain its seat tally if it has to stand up to the aggressive BJP. Thursday's balloting is also important for the Aam Aadmi Party, the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Shiv Sena, the MNS, the Left and the Janata Dal-United.

Although the staggered nine-phase balloting began April 7, the first two rounds involved only 13 constituencies from the country's northeast where the BJP is not a major player. This round is also crucial because it includes three states where the Bharatiya Janata Party failed to win a single seat in 2009: Kerala, Delhi and Haryana. For the same reason, the Congress, which won 50 more seats in 2009 over the 2004 Lok Sabha battle, has to retain its seat tally if it has to stand up to the aggressive BJP. Thursday's balloting is also important for the Aam Aadmi Party, the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Shiv Sena, the MNS, the Left and the Janata Dal-United.

The Election Commission said the polling was peaceful everywhere barring Bihar. As the polling in the third phase ended, fate of seven Union Ministers like Kamal Nath, Kapil Sibal and Shashi Tharoor, Speaker Meira Kumar, former BJP President Nitin Gadkari, besides film stars Hema Malini (BJP), Nagma (Congress) and Jayaprada (RLD) was sealed in the EVMs. Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi came out to cast their vote at the Nirman Bhavan polling station in the capital.

Polling was held for Delhi (7 seats), Odisha (10 seats), Jharkhand (4 seats), Andamans, Chandigarh, Lakshadweep, Jammu & Kashmir and Chhattisgarh (1 seat each), Madhya Pradesh (9 seats), Maharashtra (10 seats), Uttar Pradesh (10 seats), Kerala (20 seats), Haryana (10 seats) and Bihar (6 seats). Election in the Hazaribagh seat in Jharkhand was postponed owing to Ram Navami celebrations. In Bastar, the assassinated Congress leader Mahendra Karma’s son, Deepak Karma, is seeking election, while he is being opposed by Naxal sympathizer Soni Sori of AAP.

The Trinamool Congress activists allegedly slapped the Election Commission officials, who were monitoring a bikers' rally at Manikchak in Malda district on Thursday. Taking a serious note of it, the EC sought a report. The officials were allegedly manhandled in the presence of West Bengal Women and Child Welfare Minister Sabitri Mitra and the party's South Malda candidate Mouzzen Hossen, who refused to intervene.

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