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COA News 2024

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Millions are stepping out to cast their votes in phase 1 of India’s Lok Sabha elections

April 20, 2024

By Khushi Maheshwari

Orchestrating an electoral process in the world’s largest democracy is a Herculean task in itself. Phase 1 of the elections started on Friday with a turnout of around 62.73%. Polls were held in 102 of the total 543 Lok Sabha seats spread across 21 states and Union Territories.

However, the vote was not without chaos. Isolated cases of violence were reported in Manipur and West Bengal.

Bihar recorded the lowest voter turnout at a disappointing 48.50%, while Tripura shone in voter turnout at a staggering 80.17% till 9 pm.

Tamil Nadu saw its voter base fall from 72.4% in 2019 to 67.2%. It was the only state with voting rights in all its seats. Ganganagar in Rajasthan emerged with the highest number of voters, while Jhunjhunu polled the lowest.

The eastern parts of the country were infested with violence with BJP workers and TMC workers clashing and pointing fingers at each other in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar for provoking fights with poll workers, voters under pressure and had become violent towards each other. However, the police have blatantly rejected all claims of such violence.

The situation was even worse in the northeastern state of Manipur, a place that has been reeling from communal and ethnic conflict for almost a year now. Spontaneous gunfire was reported from a polling station in Bishnupur. Imphal reported vandalism, while in Tamil Nadu, two seniors were killed in the polling booths of Salem district.

The opposition Congress Party is strongly counting on a wildcard to the North, where most states have given up. On the other hand, the ruling BJP has pinned its hopes on the southern parts of the country, where conditions are not very favorable for this. It also wants to make a dent in Mamata Banerjee’s West Bengal.

The elections will be held in 7 phases and will determine 543 members of the 18th Lok Sabha. The final count will take place on June 4.

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