Case against Tejasvi Surya, raid on helicopter, 60% turnout: Phase 2 of polling ends

Tripura had the highest turnout as polling took place across 88 seats.

WrittenBy:NL Team
A picture of voters on the way to the polling booth in a boat in Tripura.

A case against BJP’s Tejasvi Surya, suspension of a Tripura polling officer, and an ECI raid on a Biju Janata Dal leader’s helicopter – controversy shadowed the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections. However, polling was held peacefully, with over 60 percent voter turnout across 88 seats in 13 states and union territories till 5 pm.   

Tripura topped the voter turnout charts with 77.53 percent voting percentage, as per Election Commission data till 5 pm. Other states that recorded high voter turnout are Manipur at 76.06 percent, Kerala at 67.27 percent, Karnataka at 63.9 percent, Chhattisgarh at 72.13 percent, West Bengal at 71.84 percent, Jammu and Kashmir at 67.22 percent and Assam at 70.66 percent as of 5 pm. 

The voter turnout in Maharashtra was 53.51 percent, while Uttar Pradesh recorded the lowest voter turnout at 52.74 percent across eight parliamentary constituencies.

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Several voters were unable to cast their votes in Assam’s Barak valley due to train cancellations, and at nine special booths set up in the Outer Manipur constituency for internally displaced people. The latter was hit by violence in the first phase of the polls.  

In Tripura, a polling officer was suspended over a remark on a political leader.  This is in addition to at least 19 government officials, who were engaged in election work, being suspended across the state over the last few days for violating the election code.

All the seats in Kerala, Rajasthan, Manipur and Tripura, and half of the 28 seats in Karnataka, will finish voting today. The others include eight seats each in UP and Maharashtra, seven in MP, five each in Assam and Bihar, three in West Bengal and Chhattisgarh, and one in Jammu and Kashmir.

Notably, in the run-up to the D-day, the BJP’s Surat candidate was declared an unopposed winner, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “hate speech” in Rajasthan was widely slammed, and Congress leader Sam Pitroda’s ‘inheritance tax’ statement triggered another controversy.

Major candidates

A total of 1,210 candidates are in fray in the second phase, including several big names. 

In the NDA, JDS’s HD Kumaraswamy contested from Mandya, while titular king and political novice Yaduveer Wadiyar put up a fight in Mysuru. Actor Suresh Gopi contested from Thrissur, IT minister Rajiv Chandrasekhar was in fray against Congress’s Dr Shashi Tharoor in Thiruvananthapuram today. Chandrasekhar also controversially said he did not vote himself since he was in Kerala while his polling booth is in Bengaluru. 

Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat was in the contest from Jodhpur, Om Birla in Kota, Hema Malini in Mathura and Arun Govil in Meerut – a seat without a single Muslim candidate for the first time in 25 years.   

In the opposition, former Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel contested from Rajnandgaon, Karnataka deputy DK Suresh from Bangalore rural, and Congress top leaders KC Venugopal from Alappuzha and Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad.    

Two of these seats, Thiruvananthapuram and Wayanad, recorded voter turnout of over 58 percent and 62 percent, respectively, till 5 pm.

FIR against BJP MP, VVPAT controversy  

The chopper used to ferry IAS-turned-politician V K Pandian was searched by poll officials in Odisha’s Nabarangpur. Pandian, who is leading the BJD’s campaign, was addressing a rally when the search was carried out. Nothing suspicious was reportedly found during the search.

In Karnataka, the Election Commission denied claims made by a voter from Bangalore Central Lok Sabha constituency that the VVPAT machine did not appear to record his vote and that the ballot button on the control unit was not activated by the polling officer when he was casting his vote, according to The News Minute

An anonymous audio clip, shared widely on social media, suggested there were discrepancies in voting in booth number 17 under the Shantinagar assembly constituency in St Anne’s school in Halasuru. However, EC officials denied any discrepancy.

Meanwhile, BJP’s Bangalore South MP Tejasvi Survya was booked for seeking votes on religious grounds. The BJP leader had posted a video on his social media account “soliciting votes on the grounds of religion”, the Karnataka chief electoral officer said on X. 

Also see
article imageFirst phase of LS polls: Sporadic violence in Bengal, 3 injured in Manipur
article imageKnow Your Turncoats, Part 6: 20 defectors in Phase 2, including 7 who shifted from Cong to BJP


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