Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Voting Begins For Final Phase Of Mega Polls, PM Modi In Fray

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Voting Begins For Final Phase Of Mega Polls, PM Modi In Fray

According to the Election Commission of India, over 10.06 crore electors including approximately 5.24 crore male, 4.82 crore female and 3574 third gender electors are expected to exercise their franchise.

ANIUpdated: Saturday, June 01, 2024, 07:29 AM IST
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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Voting Begins For Final Phase Of Mega Polls, PM Modi In Fray | Representational Image

The seventh and final phase of polling in the largest festival of democracy started on Saturday as voting started in the last 57 parliamentary constituencies at 7 am across seven states and the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

The seventh phase marks a grand finish to the world's largest polling marathon that began on the 19th of last month and has already covered six phases and 486 Lok Sabha seats.

According to the Election Commission of India, over 10.06 crore electors including approximately 5.24 crore male, 4.82 crore female and 3574 third gender electors are expected to exercise their franchise.

Ahead of voting, mock polls were conducted at various polling booths in the country, like in West Bengal's Jadavpur and Rashbehari Assembly constituency in South Kolkata.

Mock polling was also conducted at a polling booth in 35, Karakat constituency, and Arrah Assembly constituency of Bhojpur district in Bihar, Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh, in Balasore Lok Sabha constituency in Odisha and Dumka constituency in Jharkhand.

Girls performed Gidda at a polling booth in Mohali and urged eligible voters to cast their votes.

"...A total of 541 voters are here. The machines are ready and mock polls are underway...All the arrangements were well made by the Election Commission and DC," the Presiding Officer at a polling booth in Amritsar, Shivinder Deora said on Saturday ahead of polls.

All 13 parliamentary constituencies of Punjab are voting on Saturday in the last phase.

Mock polls were also held at a polling booth in the Saraskana Assembly constituency of Odisha's Mayurbhanj. The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha has fielded former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren's sister, Anjani Soren from Saraskana. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Naba Charan Majhi. Both of them will be facing a contest from Biju Janata Dal's Sudam Marndi.

904 Candidates In Fray Including PM Modi

A total of 904 candidates are in the fray for the final phase of polling. The prominent candidates in the fray in this phase include Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nishikant Dubey, Ravneet Singh Bittu, Congress leaders Manish Tewari, Charanjit Singh Channi, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Misa Bharti.

Actor-turned-politician Kangana Ranaut from the BJP is fighting against Congress candidate Vikramaditya Singh in Mandi. Union Minister Anurag Thakur is in the fray from Hamirpur, actor-turned-politician Ravi Kishan is contesting from Gorakhpur and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's nephew and Trinamool Congress candidate Abhishek Banerjee is contesting from Diamond Harbour.

Six assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh will also go for by-polls on June 1. The outcome will have a bearing on the Congress government in the state. All six seats going to the polls were held by Congress and MLAs from these seats cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha polls.

The seven States in which polling is scheduled include Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. Polling for the remaining 42 Assembly Constituencies of the Odisha State Legislative Assembly will also take place simultaneously.

The ECI said that polling for 28 States/UTs and 486 parliamentary constituencies has been completed smoothly and peacefully. The counting of votes will take place on June 4.

The polling body said that polling parties have been dispatched along with machines and poll materials to their respective polling stations. Polling stations are ready to welcome the voters with all basic facilities including ample shade, drinking water, ramps, and toilets to ensure that polling takes place in a comfortable and secure environment.

Concerned CEOs and state machinery have been directed to take adequate measures to manage the adverse impact of hot weather or rainfall wherever predicted, it added.

It further said that despite hot weather conditions, voters have turned up in huge numbers at the polling stations in the past phases. In the last two phases, female voter turnout percentage has surpassed male voter turnout.

The Commission has called upon voters to turn out in greater numbers at polling stations and vote with responsibility and pride.

Special Preparations For Polling

13 Special trains and 8 helicopter sorties (for Himachal Pradesh) were deployed to ferry polling and security personnel, it said, adding that a total of 2707 flying squads, 2799 static surveillance teams, 1080 surveillance teams and 560 video viewing teams are keeping surveillance round the clock to strictly and swiftly deal with any form of inducement of voters.

It added that a total of 201 international Border check posts and 906 inter-state border check posts are keeping a strict vigil on any illicit flow of liquor, drugs, cash and freebies. Strict surveillance has been kept at sea and air routes.

Assured Minimum Facilities like water, shed, toilets, ramps, volunteers, wheelchairs, and electricity are in place to ensure that every voter, including elderly and persons with disabilities, can cast their vote with ease, it said.

After the close of voting on June 1, the outcome of exit polls will be aired on various TV channels. The Election Commission has issued a ban on exit polls from 7 am on April 19 to 6:30 pm on June 1, till the conclusion of polling.

Campaigning Ended At High Note

The high-voltage campaigning for the final phase of Lok Sabha polls ended on Thursday. During the long campaign for seven-phased Lok Sabha polls, PM Modi held more than 200 campaign events, which included rallies and roadshows, in 75 days. He also gave several interviews.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi held more than 100 rallies and public interaction programmes like Nyay Sammelans and Nyay Manch' in Lok Sabha Polls.

Congress chief Kharge held over 100 rallies, and over 20 press conferences and had over 70 interviews and media interactions, according to party sources.

Polling for the earlier six phases of Lok Sabha elections was held on April 19, April 26, May 7, May 13, May 20 and May 25. Assembly polls have also been held in Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Odisha is seeing simultaneous polls to Lok Sabha and assembly in the last four phases.

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