Over 60 per cent turnout until 5 pm as India votes in Phase 3
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Over 60 per cent turnout until 5 pm as India votes in Phase 3

Several big names are in the fray in Phase 3, including Home Minister Amit Shah, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) leader Supriya Sule, and Samajwadi Party leader Dimple Yadav.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah cast their votes in Ahmedabad as Phase 3 of Lok Sabha polls on 93 constituencies kicked off on Tuesday. While polling in 10 states has been peaceful so far, reports of sporadic violence surfaced in West Bengal.

The Prime Minister was accompanied by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who is the BJP’s candidate in the Gandhinagar constituency. Shah is seeking a second straight term as MP from the Gandhinagar seat.

In Phase 3, voting is taking place on 93 seats in Assam (4), Bihar (5), Chhattisgarh (7), Goa (2), Gujarat (26), Karnataka (14), Madhya Pradesh (8), Maharashtra (11), Uttar Pradesh (10), West Bengal (4), Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (2).

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Over 60 per cent turnout until 5 pm as India votes in Phase 3

In Maharashtra, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, his wife Sunetra Pawar, who is the NCP candidate from the Baramati Lok Sabha seat, and NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar cast their votes.

As of 5 pm, 60.19 per cent voter turnout was recorded across 12 states and Union Territories where polling was ongoing, according to Election Commission of India data. Assam recorded the highest turnout at 74.86 per cent, while Maharashtra saw the lowest at 53.40 per cent.

PM Modi voted at the polling booth at Nishan Public School in Ranip locality of Ahmedabad city soon after the polling began at 7 AM. He greeted the large number of people that had gathered outside the polling station and also shared a light-hearted moment with a child in the crowd. Amid the ongoing heatwave, he advised people to "drink more water" as "it will be good for your health and will also give you energy".

Clashes were reported in West Bengal's Jangipur following a heated altercation between BJP candidate Dhananjay Ghosh and a local Trinamool Congress worker at a polling booth. The TMC accused the BJP candidate of trying to influence voters. In the Uttar Malda constituency, unidentified men threw a crude bomb at a polling station in Ratua. No injuries were reported.

The NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) filed a complaint with the Election Commission, urging that passbooks of Pune District Central Co-Operative Bank and Baramati Co-Operative Bank should not be allowed for voter identification. The party claimed that the bank is run by leaders belonging to Ajit Pawar-led NCP faction and feared that there was a possibility of issuing fake passbooks.

Gujarat Congress chief Shaktisinh Gohil said that pens bearing BJP's election symbol Lotus were allegedly being used at a polling booth in Gandhinagar.

Speaking to the media, Gohil said that the BJP is afraid of losing the polls and is resorting to unfair tactics.

In Phase 3 of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won 72 out of 94 seats, followed by the Congress and Shiv Sena with 4 seats each, Janata Dal (United) and Nationalist Congress party with 3 seats each, Samajwadi Party and Trinamool Congress with 2 seats each, and Lok Janshakti Party with 1 seat. The remaining two seats went to Independents.

Key candidates in Phase 3 include BJP's Amit Shah from Gandhinagar, Jyotiraditya Scindia from Guna, Shivraj Singh Chouhan from Vidisha, Purushottam Rupala from Rajkot, Jagadish Shettar from Belgaum, Basavaraj Bommai from Haveri BY Raghavendra from Shivamogga.

From the Opposition, Samajwadi Party's Dimple Yadav is in fray from Mainpuri, Congress's Digvijaya Singh from Rajgarh, Geetha Shivarajkumar from Shivamogga, and Priyanka Jarikholi from Chikkodi.

The Baramati seat in Maharashtra will witness a big ticket contest as Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar) leader and sitting MP Supriya Sule will take on Sunetra Pawar of the NCP faction headed by her estranged cousin Ajit Pawar.

Ajit Pawar, who engineered the split in the NCP and now holds the party name and symbol, has fielded his wife Sunetra from Baramati -- a Pawar family bastion which was long represented by his uncle Sharad Pawar.

As per the earlier schedule, election was to be held on 94 constituencies in the third phase. However, elections were cancelled in Surat Lok Sabha seat in Gujarat after BJP candidate Mukesh Dalal won uncontested as all his opponents either withdrew their names or their candidature was cancelled.

Besides Surat, election on the Anantnag-Rajouri seat in Jammu and Kashmir was deferred to May 25, which is the Phase 6 of polling. This came after the urged the Election Commission to postpone the polls, reasoning that "logistic, communication, and natural barrier of connectivity" were becoming a "hindrance in campaigning".

Voting is also being held on the Betul Lok Sabha seat in Madhya Pradesh, which was originally supposed to go to polls in Phase 2 on April 26. The polling was postponed following the death of Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Ashok Bhalavi.

Source: India Today

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