LS polls: Moderate to high turnout in eastern states

LS polls: Moderate to high turnout in eastern states

Moderate to high turnout was today recorded in first four hours of voting in Lok Sabha polls in Bihar, Jharkhand, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and 70 Assembly constituencies in Odisha.

While a high 30 per cent polling was registered in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, between 15 and 20 per cent was recorded in Odisha, 15 per cent in Bihar and 14 per cent in Jharkhand.

Elections in Naxal-hit states began on a violent note.

In Bihar, two CRPF personnel were killed and seven injured when Maoists detonated a landmine targeting two jeeps near Sawa Lakh Baba Mandir at the entrance of Bhimbandh jungle in Jamui Parliamentary constituency in Munger district at 5:30 AM, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Khargpur, Ranjan Kumar told PTI.

The CRPF personnel killed in the blast were identified as head constable Ravindra Rai and constable Sone Gora, Kumar said.

The seven injured were admitted to the Bhagalpur hospital, he said.

In Gaya the police seized and defused six can bombs weighing 30 kg each from Banke Bazar area under Imamganj Assembly segment, which is part of Aurangabad Lok Sabha seat, Gaya senior superintendent of police Nishant Tiwari said.

In Jharkhand, Maoists exploded a series of landmines in the forests of Latehar district and exchanged gunfire with security personnel before polling began in the Chatra Lok Sabha seat, but there was no casualty, Latehar Superintendent of Police Michael S Raj told PTI.

In Odisha, suspected Maoists pulled out polling personnel from a vehicle in Mathili area in Malkangiri and burnt four EVMs meant for four booths late last night, Malkangiri Superintendent of Police Akhileswar Singh said.

Among the 80 contestants for six LS seats in Bihar are Speaker of outgoing Lok Sabha Meira Kumar, former Kerala Governor Nikhil Kumar, Bihar Speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary, BJP leader Giriraj Singh, besides Chirag Paswan son of LJP President Ramvilas Paswan.

Ten women candidates were also in the fray.

Polling was being held in the Sasaram (SC), Karakat, Aurangabad, Gaya (SC), Nawada and Jamui (SC) LS seats.

In Jharkhand among the 62 candidates for the four LS seats were BJP candidate former Jharkhand police chief Vishnu Dayal Ram, RJD's Manoj Kumar and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha's Ghuran Ram.

Polling was being held in Palamau (SC), Chatra, Koderma and Lohardaga (ST).

In Odisha, among the 98 candidates for 10 LS seats, prominent contestants are former Congress chief ministers Giridhar Gamang and Hemanand Biswal, former union ministers Jual Oram (BJP) and Bhakta Charan Das (Congress).

Hockey star and former Indian team captain Dilip Tirkey was contesting from the Sundargarh LS seat on a BJD ticket. He was pitted against Hemanand Biswal of Congress and Oram.

Odia cinestar Siddhant Mohapatra was the BJD candidate from Berhampur Lok Sabha seat.

A total 673 aspirants were in the reckoning for 70 assembly seats.

In the Andamans, there was practically a straight contest between the Congress, which won the seat continuously until 2004 with the exception of 1999, and the BJP though there were national level parties like the NCP, BSP, CPI-M, SP and TMC in the contest for the lone seat.

The Congress contestant was Kuldeep Rai Sharma while Bishnu Pada Ray, the sitting MP, was the BJP nominee.

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