Bihar conducts fifth phase of panchayat polls

May 3rd, 2011 - 1:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, May 3 (IANS) Voting for the fifth phase of the Bihar panchayat polls was held amid tight security Tuesday, officials said.

The elections started at 7 a.m. and voters were seen queueing up at polling booths despite boycott call by Maoists.

Bihar police chief Neelmani said that polling was underway peacefully with no reports of violence.

He said that security forces, including central paramilitary troopers, had been deployed at polling booths to ensure free and fair polls.

Voting is being held in 51 blocks, including eight Maoist-affected, in 37 districts in the fifth phase to elect 25,980 village council posts. There are 85,403 candidates in the fray.

Till date, nearly 3.89 lakh ‘troublemakers and habitual offenders’ have signed bonds promising not to disrupt the panchayat polls in Bihar, police said.

The first round of Bihar’s 10-phase panchayat polls saw a police officer and a woman voter being killed in a Maoist attack in Jamui district. Around half a dozen people were injured in clashes between rival groups in various parts of the state.

In the second round, a man was killed. But the third and fourth phase passed off peacefully, except for sporadic incidents of violence.

The Maoists have issued a poll boycott call and threatened to disrupt the elections.

The 10-phased panchayat polls will end May 28.

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