Lok Sabha phase 4 voting gathers pace, clashes in Bengal, Andhra Pradesh

At 5 pm, voter turnout was 62.31 per cent as polling was underway for 96 Lok Sabha seats. West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh witnessed violence as workers belonging to rival parties clashed with one another.
Lok Sabha phase 4 voting gathers pace, clashes in Bengal, Andhra Pradesh
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Clashes erupted between Trinamool Congress and BJP workers in Bengal, while YSRCP and TDP cadres came to blows in Andhra Pradesh as voting for the fourth phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections was underway on 96 seats across 10 states and Union Territories.

In Bengal, where violence has marred previous rounds of voting, a Trinamool Congress worker was killed in a crude bomb attack. The incident took place in the Bolpur Lok Sabha constituency, mere hours before polling was scheduled to begin.

The YS Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSRCP and N Chandrababu Naidu's TDP traded allegations of violence against each other's leaders and supporters at multiple locations throughout Andhra Pradesh, especially in Palnadu, Kadapa and Annamayya districts.

At 5 pm, voter turnout was at 62.31 per cent. West Bengal topped with 75.66 per cent voter turnout, while Jammu and Kashmir was at the bottom of the table with 35.75 per cent.

Polling is being conducted simultaneously on all 175 Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh and 28 legislative assembly seats in Odisha.

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Lok Sabha phase 4 voting gathers pace, clashes in Bengal, Andhra Pradesh

A scuffle broke out at a polling booth in Andhra Pradesh's Tenali involving YSRCP MLA Sivakumar, his followers, and voters waiting in line to cast their ballots. In a video circulating online, the MLA was seen slapping a voter at the polling booth. After the voter gave it back to Sivakumar, the YSRCP leader’s supporters jumped in to retaliate.

A Trinamool Congress worker was killed when unidentified men lobbed a crude bomb at him in Bolpur, Purba Bardhaman district. The victim, Mintu Sheikh, was returning home late on Sunday night when he was attacked. Locals said he died on the spot.

Bengal once again witnessed sporadic violence on polling day, with the ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP trading blame. Workers from the two parties clashed in Durgapur as polling was underway. In Birbhum, the BJP accused TMC cadres of vandalising their stall outside a polling station.

The ruling YSRCP accused TDP activists of attacking senior YSRCP leader Nandigam Suresh's vehicle and stabbing its agent in Chittoor. On the other hand, the TDP alleged that a party agent was attacked in Myduruku constituency, leading to his hospitalisation.

BJP's Hyderabad candidate Madhavi Latha stirred a controversy after a video surfaced showing her checking the identities of Muslim women voters at a polling station. Following this, a police complaint was lodged against her under various sections of IPC, including 295A, which addresses intentional acts that offend religious sentiments.

However, Latha defended her actions, saying, "Ninety per cent of booths are compromised. Police do not want to instruct female constables to check the face with the voter ID. When I asked the police officer, he said it's not his responsibility."

Voting is underway in 10 states and Union Territories -- Andhra Pradesh (25), Bihar (5), Jharkhand (4), Madhya Pradesh (8), Maharashtra (11), Odisha (4), Telangana (17), Uttar Pradesh (13), West Bengal (8), and Jammu and Kashmir (1).

In West Bengal, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury is up against former cricketer and Trinamool Congress (TMC) candidate Yusuf Pathan. TMC's Mahua Moitra, who was expelled from Lok Sabha in the wake of cash-for-query allegations, is seeking re-election from the Krishnanagar seat. She faces erstwhile royal Amrita Roy, who has been fielded by the BJP.

Actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha is seeking re-election from the Asansol seat where he is pitted against BJP veteran leader SS Ahluwalia. Former state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh is contesting against Trinamool Congress's Kirti Azad from the Bardhaman-Durgapur seat.

In Andhra Pradesh, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi is seeking another term from the Hyderabad seat. His main challenger this time is BJP candidate Kompella Madhavi Latha.

Andhra Pradesh Congress president YS Sharmila is also contesting from the Kadapa Lok Sabha seat.

In Bihar, Union Ministers Giriraj Singh (Begusarai) and Nityanand Rai (Ujiarpur) are in fray, while in Maharashtra, BJP's Raosaheb Danve from Jalna and Pankaja Munde from Beed are in fray.

Polling is also taking place in Srinagar Lok Sabha seat in Jammu and Kashmir, the first election in the Valley after Article 370 was abrogated in August 2019. The National Conference has fielded influential Shia leader Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi while People's Democratic Party has fielded Waheed Para. The Apni Party has fielded Ashraf Mir, while the BJP is not contesting.

Source: India Today

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