Lok Sabha polls, Phase 5: Voting begins, all eyes on Amethi, Raebareli

Voting for 49 Lok Sabha constituencies across six states and two Union Territories is currently underway. All eyes are on Amethi and Raebareli in Uttar Pradesh, where Congress and the BJP are in high-profile contests. The Election Commission has called upon voters to vote in greater numbers.
Lok Sabha polls, Phase 5: Voting begins, all eyes on Amethi, Raebareli
Anjali Raj / Jaano Junction

Polling for the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections is currently underway in 49 constituencies across six states and two Union Territories. This round will determine the electoral fate of many prominent leaders, including former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani, and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

The focus in this phase of polls is primarily on Congress bastions Amethi and Raebareli where Rahul Gandhi and Smriti Irani are in high-profile contests. While Rahul Gandhi is up against BJP's Dinesh Pratap Singh from Raebareli, Irani is fighting against Congress loyalist Kishori Lal Sharma.

Several Bollywood celebrities and other prominent personalities were snapped casting their votes in Mumbai where polling is underway, including actor Akshay Kumar, film director Zoya Akhtar, actor-filmmaker Farhan Akhtar, actor Jahnvi Kapoor and Reliance Group chairman and MD Anil Ambani, among others.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged voters across 49 seats to "vote in record numbers". "I specially call upon women voters and young voters to exercise their franchise," he tweeted.

Here are the latest developments in 5th phase of Lok Sabha elections 2024:

BJP's Raebareli candidate, Dinesh Pratap Singh, who is up against Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, cast his vote. Speaking to reporters afterwards, he said there is "no confusion" that "Lotus (BJP symbol) is blooming in Amethi and Raebareli". "Rahul Gandhi is taking the name of his grandmother, father, but he is not talking about his grandfather," Singh added.

BJP MP and candidate from Bengal's Barrackpore, Arjun Singh, alleged on Monday that the Trinamool Congress pick, Partha Bhowmick, from the constituency "distributed money last night" with the aim to facilitate "hooliganism". "We will try to have peaceful elections but if that doesn't happen, government would be responsible for it," Singh told news agency ANI.

BJP's Mumbai North Lok Sabha candidate Piyush Goyal cast his votes and urged everyone to participate in the "festival of democracy". Meanwhile, BSP supremo Mayawati cast her vote in Lucknow and said she is "hopeful of a change (in power)" this time. Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah took a dig at the BJP-led Centre after casting his vote, saying claims like there has been a tourist influx in the Valley due to normalcy is "not good".

A total of 695 candidates, including 82 women, are in the fray for the 49 seats going to the polls. Concerned about the low turnout in the previous four phases, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has called upon voters to vote in greater numbers.

Over 8.95 crore people, including 4.26 crore females and 5,409 third-gender electors, are eligible to vote in this round. To facilitate the process, 9.47 lakh polling officials have been deployed across 94,732 polling stations across the country.

Of the 49 seats in polls today, 13 are in Maharashtra, 14 in Uttar Pradesh, seven in Bengal, five each in Bihar and Odisha, three in Jharkhand, and one each in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh

Union Ministers Piyush Goyal (Mumbai North), Rajnath Singh (Lucknow), Smriti Irani (Amethi), Chirag Paswan (Hajipur), BJP's Locket Chatterjee (Hooghly), BJD President and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah (Baramulla), and Congress's Tsering Namgyal, among others, are some of the prominent candidates in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha polls.

The fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections covers the least number of seats (49), with more than 40 of these seats previously held by the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Security has been beefed up in seven constituencies of Bengal, which have a history of poll-related violence, with over 57 per cent of the polling stations identified as sensitive in this phase, the highest till now in this Lok Sabha election. Over 60,000 personnel of the central forces and around 30,000 personnel of the state police have also been deployed, an official said.

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Lok Sabha polls, Phase 5: Voting begins, all eyes on Amethi, Raebareli

The past four phases of the Lok Sabha elections have registered a total voter turnout of 66.95 percent. Around 45.1 crore electors have exercised their franchise in these phases. Polling for 23 states and Union Territories and 379 seats has been completed. The sixth and seventh phases are scheduled for May 25 and June 1, respectively, with the counting of votes set for June 4.

Source: India Today

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