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|October 3, 1999||
Estimated 40 per cent polling, six killed in violence
Sporadic incidents of poll violence claimed six lives -- five in Assam and one in Madhepura in Bihar -- and left many injured in Bengal, Bihar and Tripura as an almost 40 per cent turnout was reported till noon today in the last phase of the general election.
An electorate of 133 million is eligible to vote in this phase. Besides 118 Lok Sabha constituencies in 10 states and the lone seat in the Union territory of Lakshadweep, polling is being held for the assemblies of Arunachal Pradesh (60), Sikkim (32), seven assembly segments under the Nasaraopet Lok Sabha constituency in Andhra Pradesh and five assembly seats in Karnataka.
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Kailash Gupta, who had sustained bullet injuries in a shootout between rival outfits in Chausa block of Madhepura constituency today, died in hospital. Former chief minister and RJD president Laloo Prasad Yadav and Janata Dal-United president Sharad Yadav are contesting from this constituency.
Reports of firing, minor clashes and snatching of ballot papers were received from several places in the state.
Five policemen, including two home guards were gunned down by suspected ULFA terrorists in the Hahsora polling booth of Barpeta parliamentary constituency two hours before polling began. In other incidents, militants abudcted a policeman and snatched polling materials in Tinsukia district.
Polling for the lone Lok Sabha seat and 32 assembly constituencies in Sikkim started on a dull note because of chilly weather conditions, but picked up later. Sikkim Democratic Front president and Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and Sikkim Sangram Parishad leader Nar Bahadur Bhandari were among the first to cast their ballots.
About 35 per cent of the 2.32 million voters exercised their franchise in Hoshangabad and Vidisha constituencies in Madhya Pradesh where the poll was adjourned due to heavy rain. Former MP chief minister Sundarlal Patwa is seeking election from Hoshangabad.
In the violence-prone Narasaraopet Lok Sabha constituency of Andhra Pradesh about 45 per cent of the 1.262 million voters had exercised their franchise till noon. Polling was by and large peaceful due to unprecedented security arrangements. The police fired in the air at Goggulpadu village when ruling Telugu Desam Party workers allegedly tried to prevent Congress agents from entering the booths.
Moderate to brisk polling was reported in five assembly constituencies in Karnataka till noon. The election in these constituencies, originally slated for the first phase, was postponed by the Election Commission in view of the ''vitiated'' atmosphere. About 62 per cent polling was recorded in the Lakshadweep Lok Sabha constituency.
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