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Assembly polls: Campaigning for second phase ends

Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | February 13, 2005 19:54 IST
Last Updated: February 13, 2005 22:17 IST

The campaigning for the second phase of polling in Bihar and Jharkhand on February 15 ended on Sunday.

The campaigning passed off peacefully unlike the one for the first phase, which was marred by violence by Maoist guerillas.

In Bihar, the state administration has decided to deploy 325 companies of the central paramilitary force and police personnel from five states, including Punjab, Karnataka and West Bengal. Personnel of the Bihar police and over 50,000 home guards would also be deployed.

About one crore 35 lakh people are eligible to vote to decide the fate of 1,015 candidates in 82 of the 243 assembly seats spread across 15 districts.

Initially, 86 seats were to go to polls in the second phase. But the Election Commission postponed polls in Bahera, Ghansyampur and Jale in Darbhanga districts for security reasons and in Surajgarh falling in Lakhisarai District following certain irregularities.

Bahera, Ghansyampur and Jale will now go to polls on February 18 and Surajgarh on February 26, EC sources in New Delhi said.

The Election Commission detected about 24,000 illegally issued voters' identity cards in Surajgarha. Election Commission's special advisor K J Rao, who had been to Surajgarha to review the poll arrangements, detected the illegal ID cards issued to people in Lakhisarai and Surajgarha block in violation of the 14 norms prescribed by the EC for issuing the cards, official sources said.

He recommended the suspension of block development officers of Lakhisarai and Surajgarha, Anil Chaudhary and Ram Prakash, respectively, for negligence, the sources said.

The EC special advisor also recommended action against Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police Vijay Bahadur Singh and constable Balram Chaudhry who were caught 'illegally' moving in the vehicle of Surajgarha
BJP candidate.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal is contesting 68 seats, the Lok Janshakti Party 51, the Congress 29, the Bharatiya Janata Party 32, the Janata Dal (United) 48, the Bahujan Samaj Party 79, and the Communist Party of India eight seats. 

In Jharkhand, which is witnessing its maiden assembly elections amidst a boycott call by the Naxalites, 29 constituencies will go to polls in the second phase, for which 456 candidates are in fray.

The campaigning saw Congress president Sonia Gandhi, BJP veterans Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Kishenchand Advani, Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav and the BSP chief Mayawati addressing rallies.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressed a rally in the industrial town of Jamshedpur on Sunday afternoon.

An estimated 58,44,049 voters will exercise their franchise in the second phase.

With PTI inputs

Complete Coverage: Assembly Elections 2005

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