Violence, High Voter Turnout Recorded in Fifth Phase of Indian Parl't Polls

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Barring some areas of India’s northern Jammu and Kashmir state, the voter turnout in the rest of India was better in comparison to the last election in 2014. Two explosions were reported at polling stations in Kashmir's Pulwama district, as well as clashes in the eastern state of West Bengal during Monday's voting.

New Delhi (Sputnik): The fifth phase of ongoing Indian parliamentary elections witnessed a voter turnout of about 63 percent, as 51 parliamentary constituencies spread over seven states of the country held polls on Monday, reports said.

The exact voting percentage according to the India's Election Commission was 62.46 percent.

It was then pegged at 61.75 percent, according to data provided by the Election Commission of India.

READ MORE: Indian PM Modi Casts His Vote in National Elections

In the latest phase, over 875 million people voted on Monday at 96,088 polling booths to decide the electoral fate of 674 parliamentary candidates.

​In the Kashmir Valley, the voter turnout was dismally low. In elections held in the districts of Pulwama and Shopian, which come under the Anantnag parliamentary constituency, the voter turnout was an abysmal 2.14 percent and 2.88 percent respectively. It was one of the lowest voter turnouts in the electoral history of Jammu and Kashmir.

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This low voter turnout in Shopian and Pulwama districts was expected, as both of these areas are said to be centres of militancy in the state.

In contrast, 63 percent of the people of the adjoining region of Ladakh in the same State of Jammu and Kashmir, enthusiastically exercised their right to vote on Monday.

​A recent encounter in Shopian saw Indian security forces eliminate three militants and the arrest of several youths. Pulwama is the same place where a terrorist attack by a suicide bomber from the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed took place on 14 February, causing the deaths of 40 paramilitary personnel. These could have been the reasons behind the lower turnout.

READ MORE: India’s Ruling Party BJP in Hot Water Over US Citizen's Support in Elections

In the seven-phase general elections, polling has so far been held in 424 parliamentary constituencies. Votes are still to be cast in 118 seats, for which elections will be held on 12 May and 19 May respectively. The results will be announced on 23 May.

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