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Indians vote in second phase of general elections

NEW DELHI (AA): Millions of Indians are voting in the second phase of general elections for 95 constituencies spread over 11 states and a union territory on Thursday.

Incidents of violence in several areas of eastern state of West Bengal have been reported.

According to New Delhi Television, the car of a Communist Party candidate Mohammad Salim was attacked, as he was on his way to cast his vote in Raigunj constituency.

Violence also erupted near a booth in the same constituency, when voters blocked a highway saying unknown miscreants did not allow them to vote, pushing the police to use batons, local broadcaster NDTV reported.

The report further said a group blocked another highway in Chopra town in Darjeeling constituency over same claims.

The police used batons and tear gas, and opened aerial fire to disperse the mob.

West Bengal has recorded 33.52% voter turnout in the first five hours of polling, while northeastern state of Manipur has clocked 31.52% vote till noon, according to the country’s election commission.

Chhattisgarh saw 30.53% and Assam 26.71% voter turnout, the election commission said, adding Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Puducherry have also crossed the 20% mark in the first five hours of polling.

Polling also continued in two parliamentary constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir.

With the world’s largest electorate — nearly 900 million — the elections in India will be held in seven phases through May 19. The counting will be held on May 23, and the results are expected to be announced the same day.

The ruling right-wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party is the biggest contender in the elections, with current Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a second term.

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