|HOME | NEWS | ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS '98 | REPORT|
|November 25, 1998||
58 per cent turnout in assembly polls
An estimated 58 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the polling for the Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram and Delhi assemblies today, the outcome of which is considered vital for the future of the eight-month-old Atal Bihari Vajpayee government at the Centre.
The polls were marred by stray incidents of violence, which claimed three lives and left at least 16 injured, and of booth-capturing and group clashes.
Nearly 60 per cent polling was reported in Rajasthan, a record 70 per cent in Mizoram, 50 per cent in MP and 52 per cent in Delhi.
The bye-elections for the Bharuch Lok Sabha seat in Gujarat and 12 assembly seats in six states were also held simultaneously.
In MP, two persons were killed in a firing following a clash between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party workers in Modana village of Atter constituency in Bhind district.
In other incidents of violence in the same district, one person lost his life and four others, three of them BSP workers, sustained bullet injuries. In all six cases of firing were reported from the northern areas of the state.
In Konta assembly segment in the tribal district of Bastar, Naxalites snatched ballot boxes and manhandled poll personnel. Various Naxalite groups had given a poll boycott call.
In Delhi, 300 people became ill due to food poisoning in the Hauz Khas constituency of Chief Minister and BJP candidate Sushma Swaraj. The BJP and the Congress have blamed each other for the incident.
In Rajasthan, stray incidents of booth-capturing and minor clashes were reported from half-a-dozen places in which 20 people were injured, including the son of the Communist Party of India candidate in Chittorgarh.
Polling was suspended in at least four booths in Alwar and Bharatpur districts.
In Mizoram, Samata Party candidate from Suangeuilow A Siama has been reported missing since last night.
In Sheohar assembly constituency of Bihar, which had bye-elections today, the police fired in the air to prevent armed men from capturing booths in Dairiya village.
The Purnea district authorities made 22 preventive arrests, including that of former MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav.
At stake are 630 assembly seats -- 320 in MP, 200 in Rajasthan, 70 in Delhi and 40 in Mizoram.
Polling was, however, held in 626 of these as polling in remaining four -- three in Rajasthan and one in Delhi -- was postponed due to the death of candidates.
Today's polling will decide the fate of the chief ministers of the four states -- Bhairon Singh Shekhawat (Rajasthan), Digvijay Singh (MP), Sushma Swaraj (Delhi), and Lalthanhawla (Mizoram) -- besides stalwarts from various parties.
Electronic voting machines were used in 16 constituencies -- six in Delhi, and five each in MP and Rajasthan. The voters and poll officials found them voter-friendly and worthy of being used on a larger scale in future elections.
In MP, the Congress candidate for Meghaon seat Hari Singh was arrested for firing in the air outside a polling station.
The polling was dull in the earlier hours but picked up as the day progressed.
In Mizoram, the voter turnout was impressive despite heavy rain in some areas.
In three assembly seats in West Bengal -- Baruipur, Nandanpur and Mayureswar -- the voter turnout was about 70 per cent.
Adampur (Punjab) and Baijnath (Himachal Pradesh) also recorded 70 per cent polling.
In the two assembly constituencies in Assam -- Bhabanipur and Udharband -- there was 65 per cent voting.
Incomplete reports suggested moderate polling in Agra east constituency in UP.
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