Nearly 61% voters turned out to cast their vote on Sunday in the seventh and the final phase of the Lok Sabha election held in 59 constituencies across eight States and Union Territories. Voting took place in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chandigarh. Besides the Lok Sabha seats, bypolls were held four Assembly seats in Tamil Nadu and one in Goa.
Among the prominent candidates are Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ravi Shankar Prasad of the BJP, and Shatrughan Sinha and Manish Tewari of the Congress.
Here are the live updates:
Exit polls predict Modi return
And it’s time for exit polls. Most exit polls forecast a majority for the ruling BJP-led NDA in Lok Sabha polls with varying numbers as the seven-phase polling in the general elections ended.
Many exit polls predicted that SP-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh is likely to trump the BJP in the country’s politically most crucial State. The BJP had won 71 and its ally Apna Dal two of its 80 seats in 2014. However, many news channels are yet to give a final figure. The saffron alliance may not touch even half way mark of 40 in Uttar Pradesh this time, some exit polls said.
Times Now: NDA 306, UPA 132, Others 104
India News: NDA 298, UPA 118, Others 127
Republic: NDA 295-315, UPA 122-125, Others 102-125 (Republic TV has done two exit polls. According to CVoter NDA will get 287, UPA 128, others 127. Jan Ki Baat prediction is: NDA 305, UPA 124, Others 87, Mahagathbandhan 26)
NDTV’s poll of exit polls gives NDA 300, UPA 127 and Others 115
IANS CVOTER: BJP: 236, Congress: 80; NDA: 287 (BJP: 236, BPF: 1, JD(U)+LJP: 20, Shiv Sena: 15, NPP: 1, NDPP: 1, SAD: 1, SPM: 1, AIADMK+: 10, Apna Dal: 1)
Neta-News X: NDA 242, UPA 164, Others 136
News 18-IPSOS: NDA 332, UPA 82, Others 127
ABP-Nielsen: NDA 267, UPA 127, others 148; (BJP 218, Congress 81)
India Today-Axis My India: NDA 339-365, UPA 77-108, Others 69-95
Uttar Pradesh Exit Polls
Exit poll projections for U.P.
The all important U.P. numbers from different exit polls are here:
ABP-CSDS: NDA 22, MGB 56, UPA/others 2
Republic-C Voter: NDA 38, MGB 40, UPA/others 2
Republic-Jan Ki Baat: NDA 46-57, MGB 21-32, UPA/others 2-4
Times Now VMR: NDA 58, MGB 20, UPA/others 2
News18-IPSOS: NDA 60-62, MGB 17-19, UPA/others 1-2
NewsX-Neta: NDA 33, MGB 42, UPA/others 5
Vice-President comments on exit polls
Exit polls do not mean exact polls: Venkaiah Naidu
Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu has mocked at the exit polls, saying they were not exact polls. “Exit polls do not mean exact polls. We have to understand that. Since 1999, most of the exit polls have gone wrong,” the Vice-President pointed out.
Mr. Naidu addressed an informal meeting of well-wishers on May 19, who felicitated him in Guntur.
Referring to the ongoing general elections, he said every party exuded confidence (over victory). “Everyone exhibits his own confidence till the 23rd (day of counting). There will be no base for it. So we have to wait for 23rd,” he remarked.
“Country and the State need an able leader and stable government, whoever it be. That’s what is required. That’s all,” Mr. Naidu observed.
The Vice-President also said change in society should start with political parties.
“If democracy has to strengthen and something good has to happen to people elections, selections, candidates, parties all should discharge their duties responsibly and properly,” he noted.
The Vice-President lamented that civility has become a casualty in the present political discourse. “There is a lot of degeneration in the speeches of political leaders. They are resorting to personal abuses. One is not an enemy to the other in politics, they are only rivals… They are forgetting this basic fact,” he said.
Expressing anguish over the behaviour of elected representatives in Parliament and state legislatures, he said, “See how MPs are behaving in Parliament and MLAs in Assembly, irrespective of the parties. Panchayat and civic bodies’ members follow them.”
The Vice-President also found fault with political parties announcing freebies to win over the electorate.
“The way parties are behaving.. you have been given a mandate for five years. You have to work. Without doing that, you announce freebies at the last minute. I am always opposed to it. Free power means, no power,” Mr. Naidu observed.
Exit polls gossip, don’t trust them: Mamata
Dubbing exit polls as “gossip”, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee said she doesn’t trust such surveys, as the “game plan” is to use them for “manipulation” of EVMs.
“I don’t trust Exit Poll gossip. The game plan is to manipulate or replace thousands of EVMs through this gossip. I appeal to all Opposition parties to be united, strong and bold. We will fight this battle together,” Ms. Banerjee tweeted.
In West Bengal, some of the exit polls suggested the Trinamool getting 24 seats, the BJP bagging 16, the Congress two seats and the Left Front drawing a blank.
6.15 pm | New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi slams Election Commission
Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweets: “From Electoral Bonds & EVMs to manipulating the election schedule, NaMo TV, ‘Modi’s Army’ & now the drama in Kedarnath; the Election Commission’s capitulation before Mr Modi & his gang is obvious to all Indians. The EC used to be feared & respected. Not anymore.”
6 pm | Madhya Pradesh
Modi govt will return to power with majority: Sumitra Mahajan
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan May 19 said the Narendra Modi government would return to power with absolute majority for the second time.
Ms. Mahajan, who represented the Indore Lok Sabha constituency for eight consecutive times since 1989, was talking to reporters after casting her vote at a polling booth in Old Palasia in Indore.
“There is an encouraging atmosphere for the BJP in the country. I have full faith that the Modi government will once again form the government with full majority,” Ms. Mahajan (76), popularly known as Tai (elder sister in Marathi), said.
Ms. Mahajan, who has the distinction of being one of the longest-serving women members of Parliament (MPs), was not in the fray this time as she crossed her party’s 75-year age bar to fight elections.
She had last month opted out of contesting the general elections saying she had freed the party to make its choice.
5.45 pm | New Delhi
61% turnout till 5 pm in 59 seats: Election Commission
The Election Commission is holding a presser on poll figures.
- For all 59 constituencies, the turnout figure stands at 61% till 5 pm as against 64.63% in 2014
- Punjab: 60% till 5 pm against 71.28% in 2014
- Himachal: 65.5% till 5 pm compared to 65.06% in 2014
- M.P.: 59.38% ill 3 pm compared total 66.87% in 2014
- Jharkhand: 68.27% till 3 pm as against 68.87% in 2014
- West Bengal: 65.59% till 4 pm compared to a total of 79.15 % in 2014
- Bihar: 50.86% turnout till 5.30 pm compared to total of 51.49 % in 2014
- U.P.: 53.19% till 6 pm compared to 54.96% in 2014
Malfunctioning ballot units, VVPATS
- 0.30% ballot units, 0.32% control units and 0.91% VVPATs replaced due to malfunction in phase 7
Cash seizures nearly triples
- Rs. 839 crore in cash, liquor worth over Rs. 294 crore, drugs and narcotics worth Rs. 1,270.37 crore, precious metals worth Rs. 986.76 crore and freebies worth Rs. 58.56 crore have been seized during the seven-phase polls. The total amounts to Rs. 3,449 crore compared to Rs. 1206 crore in 2014.
Case against forcefully inking voters
- Chandoli, U.P.: Case registered against three accused on complaint by five people that they inked their fingers, paid them Rs.500 each and asked them not to turn up for casting their vote today.
Voter turnout at 5 p.m.
Source: ECI’s Voter Turnout app at 5.30 pm. The figures will be updated.
5.20 pm | West Bengal
Yechury speaks to CEC over West Bengal violence
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said he had spoken to the chief election commissioner about the violence in West Bengal in the last phase of the Lok Sabha polls.
“Spoke to CEC Shri Sunil Arora ji, apprised him of the large scale attempts at rigging and violence in Dum Dum, Diamond Harbour, Kolkata Uttar, Jadavpur. He has assured us. We hope at this final stage of the poll, they can ensure that people are allowed to vote, freely and fairly,” the Left leader said in a tweet.
West Bengal has witnessed violence in all the seven phases of polling. On Sunday, polling was held for nine Lok Sabha constituencies in the State.
5.15 pm | Bihar
Shatrughan Sinha predicts whitewash for for BJP in U.P. and Bihar
Actor-turned-politician and Congress leader Shatrughan Sinha has expressed confidence that he would retain the Patna Sahib Lok Sabha seat for the third consecutive term despite a formidable challenge posed by the BJP, which has fielded Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad from the seat.
Mr. Sinha, whose wife Poonam has also made her electoral debut in Lucknow against Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, said for the BJP it would be soopda saaf (whitewash) at the hands of the Mahagathbandhan in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, which together account for 120 Lok Sabha seats.
Of the 120 seats, more than 100 were bagged by the NDA five years ago.
The sitting MP also scoffed at claims made by the BJP, which he quit last month ending three decades of association, that it was poised to win 300 seats on its own.
“They did not win 300 in 2014 despite the Modi lahar (wave). Now when the lahar has become a kahar (curse), making such a claim is just bluster,” he told reporters outside the polling station where voted.
Voter turnout at 5 p.m.
Source: ECI’s Voter Turnout app at 5.05 pm. The figures will be updated.
4.40 pm | Varanasi
Over 46% turnout till 4 pm in Varanasi
In the last phase of polling in the general elections, all eyes are on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi, where more than 46.53% voting was recorded till 4 pm.
Polling has been peaceful and no major incident of violence has been reported, said poll officials in Varanasi, from where Mr. Modi is seeking a reelection.
According to the Election Commission’s Voter Turnout app, 46.53% polling was reported till 4 pm in the constituency.
Maximum polling was recorded in the Sevapuri Assembly segment (49.30%), followed by 48.33% in Rohaniya, 44.39% in Varanasi North, 47.11% in Varanasi South and 44.40% in Varanasi Cantt, as per the app.
BJP veteran and former MP from Varanasi, Murali Manohar Joshi, was among the prominent faces who voted.
There are 18.54 lakh voters in the constituency where 1,819 polling booths have been set up, and 273 of them are categorised as ‘critical’
There are 145 model booths and one pink booth, which will be staffed only by women.
‘Who am I to bless Modi?’
Mr. Joshi said he is nobody to bless Mr. Modi, the party’s candidate from this seat, as the prime minister has got blessings of the people here.
Mr. Joshi, who won on BJP’s ticket from Varanasi in 2009, was shifted to Kanpur in 2014 to make way for Mr. Modi to fight his Lok Sabha elections from this constituency in politically-significant Uttar Pradesh, but did not get a chance to fight the 2019 elections from any seat.
After voting, Mr. Joshi was asked by reporters whether his blessing are with Mr. Modi, he said, “Who am I?… People are blessing him.”
Mr. Joshi also visited the Kashi Vishwanath and Sankat Mochan temples in Varanasi.
4.30 pm | Voter turnout
Voter turnout till 4 p.m.
4.25 pm | Karnataka bypolls
56.5 pc polling till 3 p.m. in Chincholi, Kundgol
An estimated 56.5 per cent of the over 3.8 lakh electorate exercised their franchise till 3 p.m. in the bypolls to Chincholi and Kundgol assembly constituencies.
The polls were by and large peaceful except for some snags reported in VVPATs, which were changed.
There were reports of EVMs developing problems in Chikkanarthi and Yalaguppi in Kundgol.
However, the joint chief electoral officer A V Surya Sen refuted them and said 10 VVPATs in Chincholi and 2 VVPATs in Kundgol were changed.
“No snags or stoppage of elections anywhere. All (complaints) were attended to,” he said.
The bypolls are crucial for both the ruling Congress-JD(S) alliance and the opposition BJP with the latter maintaining that a victory for it would boost its numbers in the assembly and have political implications.
The Chincholi bypoll was necessitated by the resignation of Umesh Jadhav, who quit Congress and joined BJP to contest the recent Lok Sabha polls from Gulbarga, while Kundgol seat fell vacant following the death of Minister C S Shivalli.
There are a total of 17 candidates in the fray in Chincholi and eight in Kundgol segments.
The main contest would be between the nominees of the Congress, supported by JDS, and the BJP.
BJP has fielded S I Chikkanagowdar and Umesh Jadhav’s son Avinash Jadhav from Kundgol and Chincholi assembly seats respectively.
The Congress candidates are Subash Rathod in Chincholi and Kusumavathi, wife of Shivalli, in Kundgol.
There are a total of 1,93,869 voters in Chincholi, while Kundgol has 1,89,444 voters.
Voting is on in 455 polling stations (241 in Chincholi and 214 in Kundgol), where 695 Control Units, 1,051 Ballot Units, 916 VVPATs are being used.
The election results would have its bearing in the coalition government, where both Congress and JD(S) leaders have been airing their differences publicly.
4.05 pm | West Bengal
Central forces should stay in West Bengal till poll code lifted, says BJP
Fearing violence at the hands of the ruling-Trinamool Congress dispensation in West Bengal, the BJP said on Sunday that central paramilitary forces should remain deployed in the state till the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is in force.
Speaking at press conference at the party office while polling continued in nine seats in West Bengal, BJP leader and Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said six of those constituencies had seen violence on Sunday. She said TMC workers were preventing voters from going to polling stations and that the Election Commission of India (ECI) should take action in the matter.
She said TMC leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had spoken of “revenge”, leading the BJP to be concerned about violence after polling ends on Sunday evening. She added that the central forces should remain in the State till the Model Code of Conduct is lifted and that the ECI should take cognisance of the matter.
The deployment of central forces in Bengal has been a bone of contention between the BJP and the TMC, which has accused the forces of acting on orders of the BJP to intimidate voters.
4.00 pm | Tamil Nadu bypolls
Voter turnout till 3 p.m.
3.45 pm | Uttar Pradesh
Voting percentage in Uttar Pradesh till 3 p.m.
46.71% average voting in Uttar Pradesh till 3 p.m. Varanasi, with 43.71, among the lowest. Maharajganj leading with 52.40, followed by Mirzapur 50, Kushinagar 47.90, Sonbhadra 47.30. Gorakhpur just above average at 46.71.
3.15 pm | Bihar
Photo journalist beaten up in Patna
RJD leader and party chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s elder son Tej Pratap Yadav’s bouncers beat up a photo journalist Ranjan Rahi outside polling booth when Mr Yadav’s car’s front glass got cracks in the pell-mell by photojournalists for taking pictures of Tej Pratap Yadav.
Mr Yadav was coming out of a polling booth at veterinary college ground in Patna when the incident happened.
Later, Mr Yadav lodged a police complaint alleging it was a ploy to kill him .
The photojournalist said in the helter-skelter his leg had come under wheels of Tej Pratap Yadav’s car and he lost balance. But, he said he didn’t know how the front glass of Tej Pratap’s car got cracks.
3.10 pm | New Delhi
ECI issues directions to CEOs of States, UTs
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued directions to the Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) of all the States and Union Territories that the EVM and postal ballot counting can be done simultaneously. Once the EVM counting is completed, the VVPAT slips counting can start as per the prescribed procedure.
The ECI said with the introduction of Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) and casting of postal ballot by election duty staff at the facilitation centre, the number of postal ballot papers for counting has gone up considerably.
3.05 pm | Voter turnout
Voter turnout till 3 p.m.
2.55 pm | Punjab
Amarinder hits out at Sidhu
Amid strained relation between the two leaders, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday hit out at his cabinet colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu, criticising him for damaging the Congress with his ill-timed comments against the party leadership in the State.
“If he (Sidhu) is was a real Congressmen, he should have chosen a better time to air his grievances instead of just ahead of voting in Punjab,” said Capt. Amarinder.
2.40 pm | West Bengal
TMC press statement
On behalf of All India Trinamool Congress, its leader Derek O’Brien issued a statement in Kolkata on Sunday.
The statement said “Regarding Rafale deals, BJP, as usual, hiding the facts and lying to the country.
“Today, in Bengal, central forces are brutally torturing and intimidating common citizens, especially the marginalised. Even physically handicapped persons being tortured. Central forces are also threatening voters “Kamal dabao nahin toh thok dega”.
“Central forces are directly taking orders from the BJP candidates and party functionaries, clearly violating the orders of the Election Commission. However, the Election Commission has not taken any action.
“Media has all these videos. Many are already in the public domain. Bengal wants peaceful polling. BJP does not.
“Over the next few days, the whole country will see the truth with more video evidence.”
2.00 pm | Panaji
Panaji records over 45% voting till 1 p.m.
Panaji assembly constituency by-poll recorded 45.78% voting on Sunday by 1 pm, according to Goa Chief Electoral Officer(CEO).
“By 1 pm 45.78% voter turnout was recorded, it is going at around 7-8% per hour,” CEO Kunal told The Hindu on Sunday.
Voting began at 7 a.m. with 22,482 voters eligible to cast their ballot.
The BJP Sidharth Kunclaienkar, Atanasio Monserrate of the Congress, Valmiki Naik of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Subhash Velingkar of the Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) are the main contestants, which the BJP has held since 1994.
“The BJP has gone to the lowest levels to defame me. People will pay them back while polling today,” Mr. Velingkar told presspersons after casting his vote.
“Panaji’s voters are all set to choose the BJP, as it is the only option which can provide development,” Mr. Kuncalienkar said while talking to presspersons.
Mr. Atanasio Monserrate, the Congress candidate said that the BJP has tried to assassinate his character during the poll campaign.
“The judge who is hearing the case will decide my character. The voters will vote on the basis of the manifesto I presented and my track record. BJP has just assassinated my character,” Mr. Monserrate complained.
1.55 pm | Hmachal Pradesh
World’s highest polling station with 49 voters records 53 pc voting in two hours
The world’s highest polling station at 15,256 feet, Tashiganag village in Himachal Pradesh, on Sunday took little than two hours to climb up to 53 per cent voting, a state electoral officer said.
There are total 49 registered voters in Tashigang polling station in tribal Lahaul and Spiti district, State’s Assistant Chief Electoral Officer Harbans Lal Dhiman said.
The polling began at 7 am when the temperature was below freezing point. Voters came to the polling station wearing their traditional attire to beat the chilly weather.
It recorded voter turnout of 53 per cent till 9 am, he said.
Dhiman said that nearby Hikkim polling station used to be the world’s highest polling booth earlier but it was replaced by Tashigang during the 2017 assembly election due to some technical reasons.
He said Ka polling station with the lowest number of voters in the state is situated in another tribal district of Kinnaur. The booth has been set up for just 16 voters, he added.
Both Tashigang and Ka polling stations fall under the Mandi parliamentary seat where the highest number of 17 candidates are in the fray.
The seat will witness a direct contest between the BJP and the Congress.
1.45 pm | Tamil Nadu bypolls
Voter turnout till 1 p.m.
All India voter turnout
Voter turnout till 1 p.m.
1.10 pm | West Bengal
Ghoramara Island residents vote with sinking hearts
Voters stand in queue to cast their vote in the Ghoramara Island around 110 km south of Kolkata, on May 19, 2019.
| Photo Credit: AFP
Residents on Ghoramara fear that the votes they cast on Sunday in the seventh phase of election may be the last before their island sinks into the Bay of Bengal — a victim of climate change’s growing toll.
About 4,000 people, including poor fisherman Goranga Dolui, were on the electoral list for the island in the Sunderban delta.
“Those who could, have left already. How will the poor like me leave? We hope the government will help us start a new life,” he told AFP.
Ghoramara is now about four square kilometres (1.5 square miles) having lost about half its size in the past three decades to rising seas.
Ghoramara’s voters could still have a role in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bid for a second term. BJP has campaigned aggressively across West Bengal and the result in the local constituency is on a knife edge.
But Dolui is pessimistic about his vote and the results to be announced on May 23 changing the future of the island which is only connected to mainland India by a one-hour ferry ride. — AFP
12.40 pm | Madhya Pradesh
Voters boycott polling at six booths
Voters boycotted polling at six booths in Madhya Pradesh on Sunday over some local issues, a senior election official said.
Efforts were on to pursuade the voters to exercise their democratic right, MP’s Chief Electoral Officer V L Kantha Rao told reporters in Bhopal.
Polling was underway in the eight constituencies of Dewas, Ujjain, Mandsaur, Ratlam, Dhar, Indore, Khargone and Khandwa since 7 am, he said.
However, voters listed at a booth in Agar Malwa district falling under the Dewas seat and five booths in Mandsaur seat boycotted the polling over some of their demands, Mr. Rao said, without elaborating further.
12.35 pm | Punjab
Modi tries to hide his failures, says Sidhu
After casting his vote in Amritsar, Congress leader and Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said “This election (Lok Sabha) was a battle between the truth and lie. More than parties the win or defeat of country was at stake. I stood by my country and against a party, which has divided the country in the name of caste and religion. Prime Minister Narendra Modi ran away from fulfilling his promises made during 2014, and in this election he tried to hide his failures behind the façade of “nationalism”.
12.05 pm | Voter turnout
Voter turnout till 12 noon
12.05 pm | Tamil Nadu
Scuffle breaks out in Thiruparankundram
Minor scuffle broke out between DMK and AIADMK cadres at Thanakkankulam in Thiruparankundram constituency. The DMK alleged that AIADMK cadres from other district were still present outside the 200 metre mark at a booth in Thanakkankulam. They blamed the police for failing to vacate them from the place.
12.00 | Tamil Nadu Assembly bypolls
Voter turnout till 11 a.m.
Sulur – 31.55%
Aravakurichi – 34.89%
Thiruparankundram – 30.02%
Ottapidaram – 30.28%
11.30 am | New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi hails women for playing key role in LS polls
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday hailed women for playing a key role in the general elections and said the voices of “mothers and sisters“ must be heard.
His remarks came as polling began for the final phase of the polls in 59 seats to decide the fate of 918 candidates including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is seeking to retain the Varanasi seat in Uttar Pradesh.
“Today is the 7th and last phase of polling. Our mothers and sisters have played a key role in these elections, not just as candidates, but also as committed voters whose voices must be heard. I salute them all,” Mr. Gandhi said.
Earlier, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted: “Do vote in the last phase of the general elections to make the country liberal and progressive.”
“One vote, will make the future of the youth empowered. One vote, will take the farmers towards loan waiver. One vote, will take small traders towards profit. One vote, will get the deprived ‘Nyay’ (justice),” he said.
11.10 am | West Bengal
TMC writes to ECI over PM’s Kedarnath visit
The TMC wrote to the Election Commission on Sunday alleging the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Himalayan shrine of Kedarnath is a violation of the model code of conduct.
“Even though the Election campaign for the last phase of polling for 2019 Lok Sabha is over as long as back on May 17 at 6 pm, surprisingly Narendra Modi’s Kedarnath Yatra is being covered and widely televised for the last two days in all national as well as local media. This is a gross violation of the Model Code of Conduct,” Trinamool Congress spokesperson Derek O’Brien said in the letter.
He said the Prime Minister even announced that the master plan for the Kedarnath Temple is ready and also addressed the public and the media at the temple town.
“lt is absolutely unethical and morally incorrect.
“Every minute detail of his activities during the visit is being widely publicised with an ulterior motive to influence voters directly and/or indirectly. “Modi Modi” chants are also being heard from the background,” he said.
The TMC leader said all these moves were well calculated with the “ill intention to influence the voters” on the polling day.
It is unfortunate that the poll body has not taken any action against the Prime Minister, it added.
“Election Commission, the highest body and the eyes and ears of the democratic process, remains blind and deaf to the gross violation of the MCC. l would request you to take immediate action and stop telecast of such surreptitious and unfair campaign which is also morally wrong,” he said.
11.00 am | Kedarnath
Narendra Modi thanks ECI for granting its nod to visit Kedarnath
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday thanked the Election Commission for granting him permission to visit the Kedarnath shrine at a time when the model code of conduct is in force.
Mr. Modi, who spent around 17 hours at a holy cave near the shrine, offered prayers and performed puja at the temple.
He told reporters he did not ask for anything while praying as it is not his nature. “God has given us capacity to give and not demand,” he said.
Voting percentage till 11 a.m.
10.40 am | Varanasi
10.87 pc polling till 9 am in PM’s constituency
The constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi recorded 10.87 per cent polling till 9 am.
In this constituency, 18.54 lakh electorates will cast their votes in 1,819 polling booths, of which 273 are categorised as ‘critical’
Local administration has set up 145 model booths and one pink booth which will be operated only by women.
Authorities have appealed to people to come out in large numbers to cast votes in Varanasi, which had reported 58.35 per cent polling in 2014.
All five assembly segments in this constituency are — Rohaniya, Varanasi North, Varanasi South, Varanasi Cantonment and Sevapuri.
Mr. Modi’s main challengers are Congress’s Ajay Rai and SP-BSP candidate Shalini Yadav.
In 2014, Mr. Modi had defeated Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal by a margin of 3.37 lakh.
Last time, Mr. Modi had got 56.37 per cent votes out of the total polled and there was a swing of 25.85 votes in his favour from 2009, when Murli Manohar Joshi had got 30.5 per cent votes for the BJP.
In 2009, the SP and the BSP contested separately, their combined vote share was 46.6 per cent which was more that of the BJP.
10.10 am | Uttar Pradesh
Adityanath among early voters to exercise franchise
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath after casting his vote in Gorakhpur during the seventh and final phase of Lok Sabha elections, on May 19, 2019.
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
As voting got underway for the last phase of Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was among the first voters to exercise his franchise on Sunday.
Mr. Adityanath cast his vote at the Prathmik Vidyalaya near Jhoolelal Temple in Gorakhpur at 7 am.
Speaking to reporters after voting, he said, “People are fighting this election for nation’s interest and if someone cannot understand this thing, his IQ is questionable. The entire election revolved around Modiji. With big achievements of his government during the last five years, the BJP will win the election.
Ram Bhuwal Nishad, the SP-BSP alliance candidate also voted at Daunadih Prathmik Vidyalaya booth number 295 at 7.30 am.
Union minister of state for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla also exercised his franchise in Gorakhpur. He said BJP candidate Ravi Kishan will win with more than 3 lakh votes and the BJP will form government at the Centre.
Total voting percentage till 10 a.m.
10.00 am | West Bengal
West Bengal voter percentage at 9 a.m.
Dum Dum 16.57%
Jaynagar (SC) 11.43%
Mathurapur (SC) 15.68%
Diamond Harbour 13.32%
Kolkata Dakshin 11.92%
Kolkata Uttar 11.08%
9.50 am | Bihar
Tejashwi Yadav votes after brief hiccups
Bihar Leader of Opposition in State assembly Tejashwi Yadav’s photo in electoral roll was changed. The District Magistrate has ordered an inquiry and allowed Mr Yadav to vote.
9.45 am | Kerala
Brisk polling at Pamburuthi; 14% voting till 9 a.m.
Women police checks the identity of voters at a polling booth in Pamburuthi in Kannur on May 19, 2019.
| Photo Credit: Mohamed Nazeer
Booth 166 at MA UP School at Pamburuthi in the Taliparamba Assembly segment in the Kannur LS constiuency recorded brisk polling.
Voters including large number of purdah-clad women are seen standing in queue at polling booth. Large number of police personnel are deployed in and around the booth to ensure free and fair repolling. Police personnel posted outside the booth checked the identity of voters before they are allowed to stand in queue. A woman officer was posted inside the booth to verify the identity of women voters wearing face-covering veil.
The booth recorded 14 per cent polling till 9 am.
Voting percentage | Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu bypoll voting percentage at 9 a.m.
9.35 am | New Delhi
Do vote to make country liberal, progressive, says Congress
The Congress on Sunday urged the people to cast their vote in the last phase of general elections to make the country “liberal” and “progressive”.
The appeal came as polling began for the final phase of Lok Sabha polls in 59 seats to decide the fate of 918 candidates including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is seeking to retain the Varanasi seat in Uttar Pradesh.
“Do vote in the last phase of general elections to make the country liberal and progressive,” Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted.
“One vote, will make the future of the youth empowered. One vote, will take farmers towards loan waiver. One vote, will take small traders towards profit. One vote, will get the deprived ‘Nyay’ (justice),” he said.
Voting percentage at 9 a.m
9.10 am | Bihar
Nitish Kumar casts vote
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar shows the indellible ink after casting his vote in Patna on May 19, 2019.
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar casted his vote in Patna on Sunday. After exercising his franchise, Mr. Kumar said “Elections should not be held over such a long duration …a long gap was there between each seven phases of poll….I’ll write to leaders of all political parties to build a consensus on this that election should wrap up early for convenient of voters.”
9.00 am | Madhya Pradesh
Polling underway in 8 seats of MP
Polling for eight seats in the fourth and final phase of Lok Sabha elections in Madhya Pradesh began at 7 am.
Prominent candidates in the fray are former Union ministers Kantilal Bhuria and Arun Yadav of the Congress, who are contesting from Ratlam and Khandwa seats, respectively.
Polling was going on peacefully in the eight seats of Dewas, Ujjain, Mandsaur, Ratlam, Dhar, Indore, Khargone and Khandwa, MP’s Chief Electoral Officer V L Kantha Rao told PTI.
“So far, there was no report of any problem in the polling process,” he said.
Long queues were seen at several booths in these eight constituencies, all currently held by the BJP.
Some state leaders from Malwa Nimar region of the Indore constituency were also seen standing in queues to cast their votes.
Altogether 82 candidates, including Bhuria and Yadav, are in the fray in the eight constituencies where there are 1.49 crore eligible voters.
Of these total nominees, 20 are contesting in Indore, 13 in Mandsaur, 11 in Khandwa, nine each in Ujjain and Ratlam, seven each in Dhar and Khargone, and six in Dewas, Rao said.
Total 18,411 polling booths, including 1,157 entirely managed by women, have been set up in these seats, he said.
Over 56,000 security personnel, including 83 companies of the central forces and 49 of the state forces, have been deployed to ensure smooth conduct of the polls, he said.
An average 69.26 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the first three phases of the Lok Sabha polls in the state, he added.
Out of the total 29 Lok Sabha seats in MP, six went to polls on April 29, seven on May 6 and eight on May 12.
8.55 am | Bihar
Mahagathbandan will not open its account, says Sushil Kumar Modi
After exercising his vote, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi told journalists that ‘mahagathbandhan’ in Bihar would not be able to open their account of seats.
8.50 am | Tamil Nadu
Repolling commences in Dharmapuri
Repolling commenced in 8 polling stations in Dharmapuri.
All 8 stations fall in Paapireddypatty Assembly constituency that also saw by elections owing to disqualification of the MLA.
Polling in all 8 stations was countermanded for malpractices including multiple voting, threat and absence of free environment for casting votes.
Among the stations is Nathamedu, where booth agents were caught on camera for counter capturing.
The stations are fortified by over 600 police personnel.
8.45 am | West Bengal
Complaints galore… Many EVMs not working
There are quite a lot of complaints as EVMs are not working in many booths across West Bengal. There were also complaints from people that there were no separate lines for senior citizens.
At South City College, an EVM was “out of order” and voting was delayed.
Three EVMs in separate booths are not working in Nagerbajaar. EVMs are not working at Habrar 211 booth.
8.25 am | Kerala
Repolling begins in seven booths in Kannur, Kasaragod
Repolling in seven booths in Kannur and Kasaragod Lok Sabha constituencies where bogus voting had taken place on April 23 began at 7 p.m. on Sunday.
The booths was ordered by the Election Commission of India (ECI) following confirmation of bogus voting are booth number 166 (Mappila AUP School at Pamburuthi in the Taliparamba Assembly segment), booth number 52 (Kunnirika UP School north block) and booth number 53 in the south block of the same school in the Dharmadam segment) in the Kannur Lok Sabha constituency, booth number 19 (Pilathara UP School in the Kalliassery segment) booth number 69 (Puthiyangadi Juma’ath High School, north block) and booth number 70 (south block of the same school) and booth number 48 at Kooliyad GUP School in the Trikkaripur segment in Kasaragod Lok Sabha constituency.
In the polling station at Kunnirikka UP School, media persons were not allowed to enter the school premises. Police personnel posted there barred reporters from entering the station.
8.15 am | West Bengal
Reports of bombing in Mathurapur, West Bengal
As the seventh and last phase of Lok Sabha elections began on Sunday morning, people allege that there were reports of bombing at Raidighi in Mathurapur Lok Sabha seat in West Bengal.
BJP’s North Kolkata candidate Rahul Sinha claimed that BJP agents were not allowed to sit or attend inside the polling booths. Mr. Sinha blamed TMC leader Santanu Sen for “threatening” BJP agents.
North Kolkata CPI(M) candidate Kaninika Ghosh protested by picketing on road alleging that her agent was not allowed to sit inside the polling booth. She also said there are “fake voters” in the queue. Ms. Ghosh also calimed that CRPF are supporting the ruling Trinamool Congress.
8.04 am | Tamil Nadu
Voting begins in Tirupparankundram Assembly in Tamil Nadu
People stand in long queue in many of the polling stations in Tirupparankundram assembly constituency since 7 a.m.
| Photo Credit: The Hindu
Polling for byelection commenced at 7 a.m. in 297 polling stations in Tirupparankundram assembly constituency in Madurai district. No cases of malfunctioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) reported so far.
It was reported that EVMs malfunctioned at two booths in Irugur and Karumathampatti in Sulur constituency.
Re-polling in progress at booth number 248 in Kangayam Assembly segment coming under Erode Lok Sabha Constituency.
8.05 am | Panaji
Voting begins for Panaji bypolls
Voting began for the bypoll to the Panaji assembly constituency, which was necessitated due to the death of former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in March.
Polling began at 7 am, officials said.
As many as 22,482 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the constituency which covers areas including the state capital and has 30 polling stations.
Parrikar, who passed away on March 17 battling pancreatic ailment, had represented the constituency for nearly two-and-a-half decades since 1994.
Six candidates, including two Independents, are in the fray for the bye-election.
The BJP, which has dominated the constituency, has nominated Siddharth Kunkolienkar as its candidate. The saffron party is fighting to retain its hold over the constituency considered as its fiefdom.
Kunkolienkar had won twice from this assembly seat when Parrikar was elevated to Central cabinet as the Defence Minister between 2014 and 2017.
The Congress has fielded its former Minister Atanasio Monserratte, who had lost against Kunkolienkar in the 2017 state Assembly election by over 1,500 votes. Monserratte had contested as an Independent.
Former RSS Goa Chief Subhash Velingkar is contesting his first election on Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) ticket. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has fielded Valmiki Naik, who had lost the last assembly election from Panaji in February 2017.
Two Independent candidates Dilip Ghadi and Vijai More are also in the fray.
No queues were seen outside the polling stations when the voting began.
Kunkolienkar and Velingkar were amongst the early voters who exercised their franchise at their respective booths.
8.00 am | Andhra Pradesh
Repolling begins at Chandragiri constituency of Chittoor
District Election Officer P.S. Pradyumna, Returning Officer R. Mahesh Kumar (Sub Collector) and DIG of Police Kanthi Rana Tata watch the polling trend via the CCTV network system from Tirupati.
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
District Election Officer P.S. Pradyumna, Returning Officer R. Mahesh Kumar (Sub Collector) and DIG of Police Kanthi Rana Tata watch the polling trend via the CCTV network system from Tirupati.
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
Repolling begins peacefully in the seven villages falling under Chandragiri constituency of Chittoor (SC) LS seat. 5451 voters to cast their vote under the watchful eyes of 2374 policemen.
7.40 am | West Bengal
Voting delayed, Quick response teams deployed
Polling did not start on time in many booths across the State due to issues in the Electronic Voting Machine(EVM)
To ensure peaceful polls, the ECI has deployed 461 Quick Response Teams (QRT) across the nine constituencies of West Bengal.
Police personnel will be present at the respective units and be available in control rooms to advise and supervise. On receipt of calls, the District Senior Superintendent of Police and Deputy Superintendent of Police will direct the concerned QRT to rush to a scene of offence. The benchmark to reach the scene of offence will never be later than 15 minutes. In most of the cases it will be 5 to 7 minutes.
The QRTs will be led by Asst. Commandants of central forces. A civil constable is attached to the team as guide and liaison officer. – Special Correspondent
7.30 am | Karur, Tamil Nadu
By-elections at 4 assembly constituencies of Tamil Nadu
Polling for the by-election to the Aravakurichi Assembly constituency begun on a brisk note.
Long queues are seen in Aravakurichi, Pallappati, Thennilai, Velayuthampalayam, K. Paramathi and Esanatham.
As many as 250 polling booths have been set up in different parts of the constituency.
Sixty-three candidates, including V.V. Senthilnathan of AIADMK and V. Senthil Balaji of the DMK, are in the fray in the constituency. – C. Jaisankar
Voting begins for 59 Lok Sabha seats
Polling began Sunday morning for 59 Lok Sabha seats in the seventh and last phase of Lok Sabha polls to decide the fate of 918 candidates.
Today is the final phase of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. I urge all those voting in this phase to vote in record numbers. Your one vote will shape India’s development trajectory in the years to come. I also hope first time voters vote enthusiastically.
— Chowkidar Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 19, 2019
A bypoll is being held in Panaji, necessitated due to the death of former chief minister Manohar Parrikar in March.
By-elections are also be held in four assembly constituencies of Tamil Nadu — Sulur, Aravakurichi, Ottapidaram (SC) and Thiruparankundram — and the Dehri assembly seat in Bihar.
In Uttar Pradesh, all eyes are on Varanasi, where besides Modi, 25 other candidates are in fray. Modi’s main challengers are Congress’s Ajay Rai and SP-BSP grand alliance’s nominee Shalini Yadav.
Union minister Manoj Sinha, Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey are seeking re-election from Ghazipur and Chandauli respectively.
SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri are among the 278 candidates including 24 women whose fate is being decided in Punjab.
Besides Punjab, more than 6 lakh voters in the union territory of Chandigarh will choose between sitting MP and BJP candidate Kirron Kher and former railway minister and Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal.
Actor-turned-politician Sunny Deol, Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, Aam Aadmi Party’s Punjab unit chief Bhagwant Mann are among other prominent candidates in the fray.
An electorate of 1,49,63,064 will decide the fate of 111 candidates in nine seats of West Bengal — Kolkata North and Kolkata South, Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jadavpur, Diamond Harbour, Jaynagar (SC) and Mathurapur (SC).
As many as four Union ministers — Ravi Shankar Prasad, Ram Kripal Yadav, RK Singh and Ashwini Kumar Choubey — are among the 157 candidates in Bihar.
The electoral fortunes of 42 candidates including that of former chief minister and Union minister Shibu Soren are being decided in Jharkhand.
Dewas, Ujjain, Mandsaur, Ratlam, Dhar, Indore, Khargone and Khandwa seats in Madhya Pradesh, all currently held by the BJP, are going to polls in Madhya Pradesh.
Polling is also being held in all four Lok Sabha constituencies in Himachal Pradesh. – PTI
Show inked fingers, get discounts at restaurants in Patna on May 19
Some of the restaurants in Patna have decided to offer discounts to those customers who have voted on May 19 in the last phase of the general election.
Lakhu Ka Dhaba, a multi-cuisine restaurant on Fraser Road, has planned to offer a discount of 17%.
“Since we are going to elect the 17th Lok Sabha in 2019, we have put up a discount of 17% for voters who will visit our restaurant tomorrow after casting their vote. Our idea also is to promote voting,” said Vijay Kumar, a staff of the restaurant.
This is an eight-year-old restaurant but the discount is being offered for the first time, he said.
At Laziz Tandoori, also located on Fraser Road, its manager Dushyant Raj said there will be a range of discount on various food items.
“On May 19, we will be offering discount to voters, who come to our place and show the inked finger, and, depending on the results on May 23, will offer a bigger discount on that day,” Raj said.
But many restaurateurs are playing it by ear and plan to offer discounts if only they get good crowd.
“People prefer to stay indoors after voting on polling day, and during the day time hardly any customers come, so by evening if we get decent number of customers, we might offer discount to voters,” said an employee of Sagar Restaurant on Old Patna Bypass Road.
Owner of Food Hut, another restaurant, also on Old Bypass Road has similar plans.
Patna district has two constituencies — Patnas Sahib and Pataliputra, both going to polls on Sunday.
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