Millions vote in Bihar — peacefully again (Evening Lead)October 24th, 2010 - 7:52 pm ICT by IANS
Patna, Oct 24 (IANS) Nearly five million voted peacefully in 45 constituencies in the second round of assembly elections in Bihar Sunday, with two Maoist attacks failing to deter the democratic exercise.
To pick a new 243-seat house, around half of the 9.8 million eligible to vote Sunday had exercised their franchise by the time balloting ended at 5 p.m., election officials said.
Additional Director General of Police P.K. Thakur told IANS here that but for minor clashes, there was no violence or trouble during the polls. “It passed off peacefully,” he said.
More than 60 known troublemakers were arrested to ensure a peaceful ballot. The efforts paid off but Maoist guerrillas who have called for an election boycott did make their presence felt — violently.
Maoists tried to disrupt the polling in two places in the Runni Saidpur constituency of Sitamarhi.
The rebels abducted four polling officials but released them within an hour, a police officer said. Thakur said the Maoists also tried to ransack another polling booth and burn documents in the same area.
There were, however, what police said were minor clashes between supporters of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and its ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the one hand and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) of former chief minister Lalu Prasad.
Also at some places, the electronic voting machines broke down, delaying the elections.
Maoists, who refused to embrace Indian democracy, had called for a boycott of the elections.
Long queues of men and women formed outside most polling stations in the districts of Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Samastipur, Motihari, Sheohar and Sitamarhi which saw balloting Sunday.
The voting began at 7 a.m. amid tight security and “passed off peacefully. It is a big relief,” Bihar police chief Neelmani told IANS here.
According to reports, voters in over a dozen villages boycotted the polls and shouted slogans saying they would not vote because of lack of development in their area.
The central paramilitary forces manned 85 percent of the polling booths. The Special Task Force used helicopters for air surveillance.
The second phase of voting decided the fate of 623 candidates. Most of the 9,952 polling booths were in rural areas.
The stakes were high for Nitish Kumar as well as for Lalu Prasad and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Ram Vilas Paswan.
The Congress, fighting the election on its own, is eying to make its presence felt in the Tirhut-Mithilanchal belt, which is a known RJD-LJP bastion.
The first round of Bihar elections took place Oct 21. Four more rounds of polling will take place Oct 28, Nov 1, 9 and 20. Votes will be counted Nov 24. In the first phase, balloting took place in 47 assembly seats.
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- Millions vote in Bihar despite Maoist threats (Night Lead) - Oct 24, 2010
- Voting begins for second phase of Bihar polls (Lead) - Oct 24, 2010
- Bihar poll-second phase: Caste arithmetic to play decisive role (Curtain Raiser) - Oct 23, 2010
- Second phase of Bihar polls begins - Oct 24, 2010
- Voting begins for second phase of Bihar polls (Second Lead) - Oct 24, 2010
- Maoist violence in Bihar as polling under way - Oct 24, 2010
- 54 percent peaceful polling in Bihar first phase (Roundup) - Oct 21, 2010
- Over 50 percent voting in final phase of Bihar polls (Fourth Lead) - Nov 20, 2010
- Over 50 percent turnout in Bihar poll final phase, two cops killed (Night Lead) - Nov 20, 2010
- 33 percent voting in Bihar polls, FIR against Lalu (Afternoon Lead) - Nov 01, 2010
- Nearly 25 percent voting in Bihar polls (Third Lead) - Nov 20, 2010
- 52 percent polling in Bihar's peaceful first phase (Fourth Lead) - Oct 21, 2010
- Bihar votes in final phase amid fears of Maoist violence (Second Lead) - Nov 20, 2010
- Millions vote in Bihar - peacefully (Third Lead) - Oct 21, 2010
Tags: assembly elections, bjp, chief minister, darbhanga, democratic exercise, election boycott, election officials, elections in bihar, electronic voting machines, indian democracy, janata, maoist, maoists, minor clashes, polling booth, polling stations, rjd, thakur, tight security, troublemakers