Violence mars Bihar elections

Minister attacked; 53 per cent voting recorded in 45 Assembly seats

Violence mars Bihar elections

Polling was held for 98.44 lakh voters in East Champaran, Sheohar, Sitamarhi, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur and Samastipur districts.

The fate of 623 candidates, including Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Bihar unit chief Abdul Bari Siddiqui, his Janata Dal-United (JD-U) counterpart Vijay Kumar Choudhary and Cabinet ministers Ramnath Thakur and Shahid Ali Khan, was sealed on Sunday. Violence was reported from Sitamarhi district where heavily armed Maoists raided booth No 166 in the Runnisyedpur Assembly constituency and set an EVM and other poll materials on fire. Three poll officials were reportedly missing after the incident, but the police ruled out their kidnapping by the Maoists.

Substitute material reached the polling centre and voting began as per schedule, the police said.

In Muzaffarpur district, vehicles of state JD(U) minister Dinesh Prasad Kushawaha and ruling BJP nominee Veena Devi were attacked at two different places in Minapur and Gayghat constituencies respectively. While the minister escaped unhurt, his bodyguard was injured. Polling was also held in the Naxal-infested districts of  Sheohar, Belsad, Paroo, Minapur and Sahebganj between 7 am and 3 pm as per an Election Commission direction that followed Friday’s landmine blast by the Maoists in Sheohar. 

Another report from Motihari said a bodyguard of ruling JD(U) nominee Siuji Rai was detained for trying to influence voters at a booth at Pakridayal in the Madhuban constituency of East Champaran district.

The Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party fielded candidates  in all the 45 seats. The JD (U) nominees were in the fray in 28 seats and its ally, BJP, in 17 constituencies.  The RJD’s stakes were high in 34 seats, while its alliance partner Lok Janshakti Party  had put up its nominees in 11 constituencies.

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