Indian parliamentary elections see 64 percent turnout in 4th phase

Around 64 percent of 127 million Indian voters cast their votes on Monday in the fourth phase of the country’s General Elections in 72 parliamentary constituencies spread across nine Indian states.

Voting took place in the fourth phase in 17 seats in Maharashtra, 13 seats each in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, eight in West Bengal, six seats each in Odisha and Madhya Pradesh, five in Bihar, three in Jharkhand and part of Anantnag constituency in Jammu and Kashmir, said the Election Commission of India. In the earlier three phases, voting took place to elect 302 parliamentarians and in the last three phases will see voting in 168 seats.

Overall voter turnout for the fourth phase was 64 percent, the Election Commission said as the state of West Bengal reported the highest turnout at 76.44 percent, while the voter turnout in Anantnag of Jammu and Kashmir was at 10.5 percent. Meanwhile, sporadic violence between the supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and supporters of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Trinamool Congress were reported during the voting in the state. The result of the largest elections in the world in which 900 million eligible voters would cast their vote to elect the government of 137 billion Indian people would be out on May 23.

The General Elections are being held amid heated competition between the ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right-wing BJP and the main opposition Congress party under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi and other regional parties. Modi’s government is facing criticism for its wrong-headed economic policy especially the new tax reforms and demonetization.

The current government is also held responsible for creating an atmosphere of fear among the minorities especially Muslims and pitching them against extremist elements among the majority Hindus. Opinion polls are not giving any concrete majority to form the government for any of the competing parties and it is seen that any government would be made up of post-election coalition.