Amid reports of attack on a BJP candidate in West Bengal and EVM glitches, polling was underway Sunday in 59 seats, including in the heartland states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and in Delhi in the sixth and penultimate phase of Lok Sabha polls.
Union ministers Radha Mohan Singh, Harsh Vardhan and Maneka Gandhi, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and Congress leaders Digvijay Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia are among several prominent faces in the fray in this phase.
Elections are being held in 14 seats in Uttar Pradesh, 10 seats in Haryana, eights constituencies each in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, seven seats in Delhi and four in Jharkhand.
The national capital recorded a turnout of over 7 per cent in the first two hours of polling, with North East Delhi recording maximum voting percentage among seven constituencies, poll officials said.
Voting, that was scheduled to start at 7 am, began late at some booths in the national capital Sunday.
Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain said that voting started 50 minutes late at three polling booths.
Among those who exercised their franchise in the national capital were President Ram Nath Kovind, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
President Kovind voted this morning at the polling station in the Dr Rajendra Prasad Sarvodaya Vidyalaya, within the Rashtrapati Bhavan complex, said a tweet by the president's office.
In Haryana, polling was underway in ten constituencies to seal the fate of 223 candidates, including Union ministers Rao Inderjit Singh and Krishan Pal Gurjar.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was among the early voters in Karnal.
In Uttar Pradesh, voting was yet to pick up in the first two hours of polling in 14 Lok Sabha constituencies of eastern UP where SP President Akhilesh Yadav and Union minister Maneka Gandhi are among key contestants.
The average poll percentage was 9.28 per cent, a state election office spokesperson said.
While Basti parliamentary constituency recorded the highest turnout of 11.40 per cent, enthusiasm among voters was the least in Domariyaganj, where 7.60 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballots till 9 am.
Amid reports of attack on a BJP candidate, over 16.68 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the first two hours of voting in West Bengal
Polling is underway in Tamluk, Kanthi, Ghatal, Jhargram (ST), Medinipur, Purulia, Bankura and Bishnupur (SC) constituencies.
There were reports of attack on BJP's Ghatal candidate, former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh, when she tried to enter a polling booth in Keshpur.
Ghosh's convoy was also reportedly attacked afterwards when locals pelted stones after she tried to enter another polling station and one of her security guards was injured.
"This is not for the first time that Bharati Ghosh was attacked. Since the TMC failed to stop her politically, it is trying to physically harm her," BJP state president Dilip Ghosh charged.
When contacted, a senior official of the state CEO said a report was sought from the district magistrate.
The CEO also sought a report after Ghosh was seen videographying inside a polling booth at Pikurda in Keshpur.
In Jharkhand, an estimated 15.36 per cent of voters exercised their franchise till 9 am for four Lok Sabha constituencies.
Voters queued up before booths in Giridih, Dhanbad, Jamshedpur and Singhbhum (ST) constituencies since early morning.
Bihar witnessed around 8.30 per cent of 1.38 crore voters exercised their franchise in the first two hours of polling in eight Lok Sabha seats.
Polling is underway peacefully in Valmikinagar, West Champaran, East Champaran, Sheohar, Vaishali, Gopalganj, Siwan and Maharajganj with a few incidents of malfunctioning of Electronic Voting Machines, the officials said.
Officials said polling began late in certain polling stations due to technical problems in EVMs which were rectified.
Madhya Pradesh saw around 11.35 per cent voter turnout till 9 am in eight Lok Sabha seats.
Voting for the third phase of Lok Sabha polls in the state commenced at 7 am in a peaceful manner, state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) V L Kantha Rao told PTI.
"During mock poll conducted before actual voting began, 30 to 40 electronic voting machines (EVMs) were changed because of some technical problems," he said.
In this sixth phase, over 10.17 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 979 candidates. The Election Commission has set up over 1.13 lakh polling stations for smooth conduct of the polls.
The elections in this phase are seen as a big test for the BJP which had won 45 of these seats in 2014, with the Trinamool Congress bagging 8, the Congress two and the Samajwadi Party and the LJP one seat each among others.
The final phase of polls will be held for 59 seats on May 19. Results will be declared on May 23.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)