The sixth phase of the Indian election took place on May 12th, and there were fifty-nine constituencies that voted in this election. There was a 63.8% voter turnout overall, and 483 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats have been filled. The voting was spread across 28 states and territories. West Bengal had a voter turnout of 80.5%, Haryana with 69.5%, Madhya Pradesh with 64.9%, Jharkhand with 64.5%, Delhi with 60.5%, Bihar with 59.3%, and Uttar Pradesh with 54.7%.
There were instances of violence in this phase as well, particularly in West Bengal. BJP candidate Ghatal Bharati Ghosh was targeted by mobs, and there were some polling stations that were boycotted in the state. In the previous few phases, there has been conflict with the Trinamool Congress party (TMC) and opposition parties. The fifth phase saw crude bombs thrown between BJP and TMC, and a BJP candidate was attacked in the fourth phase. In the third phase, three people and one Congress worker were injured in a squabble.
India’s capital voted in this phase as well, an extremely observed segment of the election. Only about 60% of the registered voters in New Delhi voted, which was a 5% decrease in voter turnout from the 2014 elections. There was criticism regarding the Delhi voting process as well; there were many voters who stated that their names were not present on the electoral lists, which had an impact on whether they were allowed to vote or not. There were also problems with the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in Delhi, which caused significant delays for the people who came out to vote in the phase.
New Delhi’s election process was particularly watched because the city is one of the country’s most diverse and growing cities, and is becoming a hub for many industries such as IT and the banking. There are numerous issues that are affecting residents of New Delhi, such as pollution, crime, and lack of job opportunities. In 2014, BJP won all seven of the Lok Sabha seats in the city. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress Party are strong contenders for these seats however, and there is debate over which party will win majority this year. There is a lot of criticism over BJP in the city, especially regarding their economic policies over the past four years. CNN quoted a New Delhi resident, “They killed the public with demonetization and the rich people keep going up. The rich have become richer and the poor have become poorer."
The AAP has become increasingly popular in New Delhi, especially among the lower income families in the city. CNN reported, “In its 2018-2019 budget, the AAP government allocated $2 billion, 26% of its total budget, for the education sector, with a focus on building new classrooms in government schools and initiatives like the Happiness Curriculum.” These initiatives have helped create credibility in the city for the AAP, and its possible that BJP will have a harder time holding all seven seats in this election season.
The seventh phase of elections will take place on May 19th, and the voting states include: Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Bengal, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh. The results will be released to the public on May 23rd, and will determine which party will hold majority in the Indian government.
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