70 per cent to 47 per cent polling till 3 pm in eastern India

Last Updated 24 April 2014, 12:36 IST

A voter turnout of as high as 69.61 per cent to a low of 47 per cent was witnessed till 3:00 pm in the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha elections today for 23 seats in eastern India.

West Bengal, where the second phase of the elections are being held, registered 69.61 per cent, Jharkhand in the third and last phase witnessed 55.93 per cent, Assam also in the third and last phase recorded 53 per cent and Bihar 47 per cent in the third phase.Altogether 332 candidates are contesting the 23 seats in the four states.

A policeman was killed while another was injured when a mob tried to capture a poll booth in Kokrajhar parliamentary seat in Assam, leading BSF personnel to open fire.

In West Bengal, the Election Commission removed three presiding officers under Sagardighi Assembly segment of Jangipur parliamentary constituency for allowing TMC candidate Sk Nurul Islam and his followers to influence voters and allowing them inside the polling premises flouting section 144 CrPC.

In Jharkhand, a minor clash in Dhanbad between supporters of Congress and Marxist Coordination Committee left four Congressmen injured. EVMs malfunctions were reported from the four states and were replaced.

Prominent among 108 candidates in Bihar were BJP's Shahnawaz Hussain, the party's lone Muslim face in the outgoing Lok Sabha (Bhagalpur), NCP General Secretary Tariq Anwar (Katihar) and former union minister and RJD leader Mohd Taslimuddin.

Polling was being held in Supual, Araria, Kisanganj, Katihar, Purnia, Banka and Bhagalpur in the state.

Stakes were high for the BJP in Bihar as five of the seven seats were won by the party last time in 2009. One each were held by rivals Congress and JD(U). Despite the temperature touching over 42 degrees Celsius, enthusiasm of voters both young and old was visible.

A 90-year-old woman Ram Pyari was carried to a polling station on a charpoy after crossing a rivulet.

In Purnea, an elderly woman who was the first to cast her vote in a booth was presented with flowers by the poll official to motivate voters.

In West Bengal, Abhijit Mukherjee, son of President Pranab Mukherjee, Union minister Deepa Dasmunshi Mamata Banerjee's bete noire, MP Mausam Noor, Abu Hashem Khan Chowdhury all of Congress were important contenders among the 78 candidates.

Abhijit had won the Jangipur seat by a slender margin of 2,536 votes in the 2012 by-election when his father Pranab Mukherjee vacated the seat.

The elections would indicate whether the Congress would be able to retain its north Bengal bastion, or the Trinamool Congress would make inroads.

Five of the six seats - Raiganj, Maldaha Uttar, Maldaha Dakshin, Jangipur and Murshidabad were won by the Congress in the 2009 general elections, which it fought in alliance with the TMC, while the RSP had won the Balurghat seat.

In Jharkhand, among the 72 candidates contesting were former chief ministers Shibu Soren of JMM, Babulal Marandi of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) and BJP's Sunil Soren.

The four seats where polling was being held were Dhanbad, Dumka, Raj Mahal and Godda.

Among the 74 candidates in Assam were AIUDF chief and sitting MP Badruddin Ajmal, Congress candidate Wazed Ali Choudhury and BJP's Debamoy Sanyal, Assam Tourism minister Chandan Brahma of BPF and sitting BPF MP S K Bwismuthiary.

Polling was being held in Kokrajhar (ST), Dhubri, Barpeta, Mangaldoi, Gauhati and Nowgong.

(Published 24 April 2014, 12:35 IST)

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