The Phase I of Lok Sabha Elections 2019 took off as polling in all the Lok Sabha constituencies of Andhra Pradesh (25), Telangana (17), Uttarakhand (5), Meghalaya (2) and Arunachal Pradesh (2) besides lone seats in Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar, and Lakshadweep began.
Eight seats in Uttar Pradesh, seven in Maharashtra, six in Bihar, five in Assam, four in Odisha, two each in Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal and one seat in Chhattisgarh are also going to polls.
The turnout in various constituencies is: Andaman & Nicobar Islands (1 seat) – 70.67%, Andhra Pradesh (25 seats) – 66%, Chhattisgarh (1 seat) – 56%, Telangana (17 seats) – 60%, Uttarakhand (5 seats) – 57.85%, Jammu & Kashmir (2 seats) – 54.49%.
According to the Election Commission of India, turnouts across 20 states is more or less matching the voting percentages recorded in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
This is the first Lok Sabha election where VVPATs were used on a 100% basis, and the EC had reported a minimal replacement of 0.7% of EVM ballot units, 0.6% of EVM control units and 1.7% VVPATs. Cash seizures so far are double those of the entire 2014 election at Rs 607 crore.
There were a few incidents of violence in Chhattisgarh, and a polling party came under attack in Maoist-hit Gadchiroli in Maharashtra. An IED blast occurred at Narayanpur in Chhattisgarh. No casualties were reported though.
Clashes between party workers and supporters were reported in Andhra Pradesh. Interestingly, there were around 15 cases of EVMs being damaged, including six in Andhra Pradesh, five in Arunachal Pradesh, two in Manipur and one each in Bihar and West Bengal.
In Andhra Pradesh, Jana Sena candidate from Guntakal assembly constituency Madhusudan Gupta, agitated at an EVM not working, smashed it on the floor, leading to his arrest.