Bihar holds second phase of panchayat pollsApril 24th, 2011 - 10:32 am ICT by IANS
Patna, April 24 (IANS) Voting for the second phase of Bihar panchayat polls began Sunday morning amid tight security. Voters were seen lining up at polling booths despite a boycott call by Maoists.
“Panchayat polls began on a peaceful note. No reports of violence have come so far,” Bihar Police chief Neelmani said.
He said that security forces, including the central paramilitary, have been deployed at polling stations to ensure free and fair polls.
Some 27 extra deputy superintendents of police have been deputed in Maoist-affected districts. The rebels have issued a poll boycott call and threatened to disrupt the elections.
“Strict action would be taken against those found trying to either disrupt the polling process or attempting to undermine the sanctity of the democratic exercise,” he said.
The state administration has sealed the India-Nepal border and deployed security forces at all vulnerable points.
Voting, which began at 7 a.m., is taking place in 57 blocks of 37 districts in the second phase to elect 27,905 village council posts. There are 94,776 candidates in the fray.
Nearly 2.75 lakh ‘troublemakers and habitual offenders’ have signed bonds promising not to disrupt the polling process, a police officer said.
The state election commission has made it clear that if any candidate is attacked or intimidated, his rival will be named in the police report.
The first round of the panchayat polls saw a police officer being killed in a Maoist attack in Jamui district Wednesday. Six-seven people were injured in clashes between rival groups in various parts of the state, an official said.
Elections in Bihar were once known for violence and booth capturing. In the 1999 Lok Sabha elections, 74 people were killed in poll-related violence. About 20 people were killed in the 2004 general elections and 158 during the 2001 panchayat elections.
The 10-phased polls for 262,000 panchayat posts would end May 28.
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Tags: democratic exercise, deputy superintendents, general elections, habitual offenders, lok sabha elections, maoist, maoists, panchayat elections, peaceful note, poll boycott, polling booths, polling stations, rival groups, second phase, state administration, state election commission, strict action, tight security, troublemakers, vulnerable points