Phase 4 of voting in the Lok Sabha Polls 2019 in 9 states witnessed an overall turnout of 63.16 percent.
West Bengal stood out for the highest turnout among all states – 76.72 percent. The turnout in 2014 was higher at 83.3 percent though, reflecting a decrease in voter enthusiasm and participation. It’s a surprise for a politically aware and involved state like West Bengal.
The other reason for Bengal grabbing headlines was the violence reported from eight constituencies, including Asansol and Birbhum’s Dubrajur. BJP candidate and sitting MP Babul Supriyo was captured on television cameras arguing with poll officials inside the booth. The officials later filed an F.I.R. against the MP. There were clashes between TMC, BJP supporters and security forces, who had a tough time controlling the groups. Supriyo’s car parked outside was allegedly vandalized.
In Domrajur, Birbhum district, police resorted to firing inside a booth. Several incidents reportedly involved voter intimidation, voter denial, unauthorized booth control, and violence across the states. Security personnel resorted to lathi-charge at several places.
To add to the already surcharged atmosphere was the Prime Minister’s statement, claiming he was in touch with 40 TMC MLAs. It invited a sharp reaction from the Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, who claimed the PM was violating poll code and attempting ‘horse trading’.
Madhya Pradesh, which recently voted Congress to power in the state, continued to display enthusiasm in voting for the national level politics. The second largest turnout of 69.39 percent was recorded in M.P. The state recorded a significant increase in voter turnout from 2014. That year recorded only 64.8 percent turnout, so 2019 does show rising voter enthusiasm.
Rajasthan is in the midst of a heatwave, but that wasn’t a deterrent for a 67.91 percent voter turnout – the third highest among all states. Keeping up with the sentiment of rising enthusiasm witnessed in M.P, Rajasthan too marked an increase over 2014 when the voter turnout registered 64.1 percent.
64.38 percent of voters turned out to vote in Jharkhand, ranking fourth overall. This too was higher than in 2014 when the state recorded 57.4 percent turnout.
Odisha was next, recording 64.24 percent turnout. This was much lower than in 2014, when 75.4 percent of voters turned out to choose their representatives. The reason behind lack of enthusiasm among voters is not clear, given the Biju Patnaik-led government faces some anti-incumbency and BJP has been aggressive in its campaigning.
Bihar recorded 59.02 percent turnout, slightly higher than in 2014.
U.P., which is India’s biggest state in terms of Lok Sabha seats, witnessed 58.84 percent turnout, a marginal increase over 2014 – 58.3 percent. However, if you look at overall figures, a figure below 60 percent for such an important state is definitely low.
Maharashtra, including Mumbai, recorded 55.86 percent, a marginal increase over 2014 – 55.5 percent. Mumbai, often called India’s Maximum City, once again reflected lack of responsibility and participation in the political process in the country. Barring Mumbai South and Thane, all other constituencies in the city recorded a marginal increase over 2014, but remained far below expectations from India’s busiest and richest city.
The city is beset with problems, people continue to suffer from crumbling infrastructure; yet the city continues to record poor voter turnout, as compared to other metro cities and major state capitals.
Jammu & Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir, Kulgam district, once again recorded a poor 9.79 percent turnout. It was disappointing for a district that recorded a turnout of 36.2 percent in 2014. Sadly, the result will not reflect people’s aspiration since the percentage will not reflect people’s issues.
2019 general elections have seen all parties resorting to provocative statements, personal attacks, claims, and accusations like never before.
This forced many parties to approach the Election Commission with a litany of complaints against leaders of other parties. BSP leader Mayawati has a maximum of 8 complaints against her.
U.P. CM Yogi Adityanath has 6 complaints, Maneka Gandhi 4, and Azam Khan 1, among others.
The EC will look into all complaints today and decide on further action.