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55 per cent polling in Jharkhand, 2 killed

April 26, 2004 23:23 IST

An estimated 55 per cent of the voters cast their ballots in the second and final phase of polling in Jharkhand in eight constituencies today. But a police officer and a polling officer were killed in a landmine blast in the state.

Despite the Naxalite threat in five seats, there was 40 per cent polling in Lohardaga, 50 per cent in Khunti, 52 per cent in Jamshedpur, 52 per cent in Ranchi, and 45 per cent in Singhbhum without any untoward incident.

Godda, Dumka and Rajmahal (55-60 per cent each) were the other seats where voting took place today.

''The polling was fully peaceful,'' Jharkhand Home Secretary J B Tubid told the Press Trust of India.

He said Assistant Sub-Inspector Ram Ratan Singh and polling officer Sashi Sekhar Harihar, a teacher by profession, were killed in a landmine blast while on their way to their booth at Banatala in the Lohardaga parliamentary constituency in the morning.

A report from Godda said one member of the Godda district committee of the Communist Party of India was stabbed by an unidentified person while unknown gunmen fired shots in the air at Parsaigaon.

In another incident, police had to resort to a mild lathi-charge to disperse supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha who clashed near a booth at Sahebganj in the Rajmahal constituency.

Agitated over the continued neglect of their areas, most villagers of at least 16 booths spread over Dumka, Rajmahal, Godda and Ranchi districts stayed away from the polling exercise till noon.

Earlier in the morning, defective electronic voting machines in many polling booths delayed voting for up to two hours before officials replaced them with new ones.

Prominent among the 97 candidates whose fates were sealed in the EVMs are: JMM chief Shibu Soren, Union Minister Karia Munda of the BJP from Khunti, former Union minister Subodh Kant Sahai of the Congress from Ranchi, and Deputy Speaker Bagun Sumbrai of the Jharkhand assembly, also of the Congress, from Singhbhum.

In the first phase of polling for six seats on April 20, the state had witnessed a turnout of about 50 per cent.


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India Votes 2004

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