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East states Lok Sabha Election 2019 Voting updates: Till 7 pm, Bengal registers 79.36% polling, Tripura and Assam 78.52%; Odisha's turnout improves to 58.18%

 East states Lok Sabha Election 2019 Voting LATEST updates: West Bengal recorded over 79 percent polling till 7 pm, highest among the eastern states of India which voted in phase 3 of the General Election to Lok Sabha. Bengal recorded high turnout despite polling being marred by poll violence in Murshidabad.

Till 7 pm, Tripura and Assam recorded the second highest at 78.52 percent. Odisha performed poorly on Tuesday with just 58.18 percent percent turnout. Simultaneous polls are being held in Odisha for six Lok Sabha constituencies and 42 Assembly constituencies.

Congress workers launched a protest outside the Election Commission's office in Kolkata on Tuesday over party worker's death in Murshidabad. Congress and TMC workers had earlier clashed in Murshidabad, which is undergoing polling in phase 3 of the general elections to Lok Sabha, during which a Congress worker was killed.

Till 5 pm, Assam registered an overall polling of 71.47 percent in the four Lok Sabha seats — Dhubri, Kokrajhar (ST), Barpeta and Gauhati — that voted in phase 3 of the General Elections to Lok Sabha. Dhubri recorded the highest percentage of 78.94 percent, followed by Barpeta at 72.47 percent, Kokrajhar (ST) 70.31 percent and Gauhati 65.28 percent.

In Asansol, Prime Minister Narendra Modi mocked TMC chief Mamata Banerjee for her prime ministerial aspirations. "By fighting on just a handful of seats, Didi is dreaming of becoming a prime minister. If the post of prime minister could be bought in auctions, then Congress and Didi  would've bought the post with the money they've looted from the country. Didi, this prime minister post is not available for auction that you can buy if with the money earned in Saradha, Narada (scams)," he said.

Till 4 pm, voter turnout was low in Odisha at 46.4 percent in the third phase of Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies in the state, while polling crossed over 60 percent in the third phase of Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal, Assam and Tripura. Bengal registered highest among the four eastern states at 68.2 percent despite violent clashes affecting voting in Murshidabad. Tripura registered 65.92 percent turnout whereas it was 62.13 percent in Assam.

A polling officer was found hanging in his house in Buniadpur, South Dinajpur, which is part of the Balurghat Lok Sabha constituency. Babulal Murmu allegedly committed suicide last night. However, his wife alleged that Murmu was under pressure. He was disturbed because of developments that has happened in West Bengal in the last two phases. No complaint has been registered against anyone as yet.

A voter named Tiyarul Kalam, 55, was killed and seven others injured in poll clashes between the Congress and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Baligram area of West Bengal's Murshidabad which is a Lok Sabha constituency undergoing polling in the third phase of 2019 general elections.

TMC leader and former block president of Kumarganj, Mahmuda Begum allegedly threatened people and got inot a brawl with police after BJP's Goutam Chakravarty, the leader of party's South Dinajpur district, alleged that Begum was helping people in capturing the booth and influencing voters. After getting a complaint when police reached the spot, Begum got into a heated argument with the force.

A delegation from the BJP will meet Chief Election Officer for West Bengal, Aariz Aftab, at 3.00 pm on Tuesday to voice their concerns over vote rigging and violence reported during the third phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

Odisha has recorded 25.26 percent voting by 1 pm. However, Bhubaneswar saw a dismal polling percentage of 8.68 percent. Some people denoted the low voter turnout to EVM glitches.

In West Bengal's South Dinajpur BJP supporters and villagers were beaten up for showing support to the party. Several people alleged that TMC workers from the area tried hijacking the booth and threatened villagers to vote for the ruling party. The situation went out of control when a couple of people got into a scuffle, and central forces rushed had to be rushed to the booth.

Whereas in Maldaha constituency, there have been severe clashes in the block near the India-Bangladesh border. Three voters have been seriously injured including a woman. There have also been allegations that voters are being influenced to vote for particular candidates. TMC has alleged that Congress cadres are trying to influence the votes and not letting voters vote for their choice of candidate in Ratua under the Maldaha constituency.

A TMC councillors' husband was injured in clashes in Domkal in the Murshidabad district. The TMC has blamed the Congress and the CPM for the attack. Earlier, during the second phase of polling, West Bengal had witnessed widespread violence.

Meanwhile, outside a polling booth in Hariharpara in Murshidabad district, gunshots were heard after poll violence, with no security personnel present at the spot. Congress has accused TMC of violence.

The Election Commission (EC) ordered the removal of a presiding officer in Ratua under the Maldaha Uttar seat after unknown persons were seen assisting voters at the polling booth, News18 reported.

Early voting was seen in West Bengal's Murshidabad constituency. The important candidates in the seat are sitting MP, Badaruddoza Khan of CPM, BJP’s Humayun Kabir, Abu Hena from Congress and TMC’s Janab Abu Taher Khan. Voters also lined-up in Assam's Gauhati and Tripura East to vote early-on.

Meanwhile, an EVM malfunctioned in Baghbar under the Barpeta Lok Sabha constituency in Assam.

In the eastern part of India, voting in the third phase on Tuesday will be held in Assam, Odisha, West Bengal and Tripura.

The election to Tripura East constituency was deferred from 18 April to 23 April after the Election Commission received inputs that the "law and order prevailing in the constituency is not conducive to the holding of a free and fair poll."

In six seats in Odisha, the main contest in between the state's ruling BJD and the BJP. The BJD had won all the six seats in 2014. The third phase of polls will decide the fate of 61 hopefuls in Sambalpur, Keonjhar, Dhenkanal, Cuttack, Puri and Bhubaneswar.

In West Bengal, the ruling Trinamool Congress, BJP and Congress are the main contenders in the five seats: Balurghat, Maldaha North, Maldaha South, Jangipur and Murshidabad. Four seats will see four-cornered contests between the three parties and the Left Front. It will be a three-cornered contest in Maldaha South as no Left party is in the fray in the seat.

In Assam, four constituencies — Dhubri, Kokrajhar (ST), Barpeta and Gauhati — will go to polls on Tuesday. Prominent candidates in the fray are two sitting MPs AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal in Dhubri and Independent Naba Sarania in Kokrajhar, state social welfare minister Pramila Rani Brahma of BPF from Kokrajhar and Congress MLA Abdul Khaleque.

Gauhati has 17 candidates in the fray, including five women, with the contest likely to be direct between two women candidates — BJP's Queen Oja and Congress's Bobbeeta Sharma. In Dhubri, there are 15 candidates with the fight likely to be triangular between sitting AIUDF MP Badruddin Ajmal, AGP's Zabed Islam and Congress candidate Abu Taher Bepari.

The seven-phase Lok Sabha election started on 11 April. The first phase witnessed 69.45 percent voter turnout across the country, while the election for the second phase was held on 18 April and witnessed 69.43 percent voter turnout.

The result for the Lok Sabha election will be announced on 23 May.

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Updated Date: Apr 23, 2019 21:12:14 IST