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Bihar polls: 40-45 percent voter turnout in second phase

Source: PTI
Last updated on: October 26, 2005 20:13 IST
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There was 46 per cent voter turnout in the second phase of the Bihar assembly elections, which passed off peacefully, by and large, in 62 of the 243 constituencies on Wednesday.

A man mistaken for a booth grabber was shot dead and another was injured by security forces, while there were sporadic clashes at a few places. Chief Electoral Officer, Bihar, N K Sinha, said that voter turnout was 46 per cent of the 1.35 crore registered voters.

Political heavyweights whose electoral fates were sealed include former chief minister Rabri Devi of Rashtriya Janata Dal, who is contesting from Raghopur and Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee president and former speaker Sadanand Singh, who is contesting from Kahalgaon. There was also a host of ministers in the erstwhile Rabri Devi government who contested in this phase.

Official sources said a 'mentally unsound' priest, Pappu Singh, was shot dead when he pointed a toy pistol at a Border Security Force contingent posted at booth number 45 in Raghopur constituency. Vaishali district magistrate-cum-district election officer Sanjeev Hans ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.

Bablu Mahto, a member of the notorious Ashok Mahto gang, was injured in firing by Central Para Military Forces to quell a gunbattle between armed supporters of rival candidates at a polling station at Barsa in Sheikhpura constituency.

Ashok Mahto's relative Rinki Devi is contesting from Sheikhpura as an independent candidate against Sunila Devi of the Congress and daughter-in-law of slain former Congress MP Rajo Singh. Mahto is said to have masterminded Singh's killing last month.

Former RJD minister and party candidate for Bochaha, Ramai Ram, was detained and later released for moving around in a convoy of four vehicles with supporters during the poll, official sources said. Samajwadi Party nominee for Pranpur, Mohammed Razzaq, was arrested for violation of the model code of conduct, the sources said.

There were reports of minor clashes between supporters of rival candidates at two polling stations in the Munger seat, where an assistant sub-inspector of Punjab Police was suspended for being drunk on duty.

Election Commission's Special Adviser K J Rao, who was travelling from one constituency to another in an Indian Air Force helicopter, reviewing the polls, cancelled polling at three booths in Munger on the complaint that polling agents of all rival parties were forced to leave by supporters of a particular one.

There were reports of boycott of elections at three booths in Bhagalpur constituency, one in Vaishali, one in Manihari and two in Pranpur assembly constituencies on local issues, while polling was boycotted at two booths in Raghopur against the killing of the priest.

Around 100 persons were arrested and several others detained and later released for disturbing the poll, Home Secretary H C Sirohi said.

Earlier, polling was also scheduled to be held on Wednesday in Suryagarha, Kharagpur, Sarairanjan, Dalsinghsarai, Samastipur, Kadwa and Barsoi constituencies, which was deferred to October 29 by the Election Commission for security reasons.

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