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|September 29, 1999||
Polling postponed in 4 Bihar constituencies
The October 3 polling in the Purnea, Rajmahal, Bhagalpur and Khagaria Lok Sabha constituencies of Bihar has been postponed to October 28 because of unprecedented rains and floods there.
The Election Commission has announced that polling in the Kadwa and Manihari assembly segments of Katihar Lok Sabha constituency was also being adjourned from October 3 to October 5, by when the situation in those segments was expected to be normal.
Polls would now be held in the remaining twelve parliamentary constituencies of Bihar on October 3 in the fifth phase of the 13th general elections. The commission said it was also decided to divert the central paramilitary forces from the constituencies where the poll has been postponed to other key constituencies like Madhepura, which shall now have a full complement of force, including 100 per cent static force outside the polling booths.
Commission secretary K R Prasad said the decision to adjourn polling in the four constituencies was taken after receiving the report of state chief electoral officer and joint chief electoral officer Anjani Kumar, who surveyed the flood-affected areas.
The CEO and joint CEO submitted their report after reviewing the arrangements with the divisional commissioners and district magistrates concerned. After considering their report, the commission decided to postpone the poll in Purnea, Rajmahal, Bhagalpur and Khagaria constituencies to October 28 and Kadwa and Manihari assembly segments of Katihar parliamentary constituency to October 5.
The commission said normally monsoon withdraws from these parts of Bihar by September 15, and the commission had therefore, after consultations with the meteorological department, scheduled the elections in north Bihar for October 3. Commission's secretary K J Rao had earlier visited the flood-prone constituencies along with Basu. After a survey of the divisional headquarters of Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga and Saharsa on September 23, the secretary was assured by the divisional commissioners, district magistrates and returning officers that the poll could take place as per schedule.
However, the situation changed after September 23 because of unprecedented late rains in these areas and because of discharge of river water from Nepal. The heavy rains, accompanied by cyclonic winds which lashed Bihar from September 24 to 27, had resulted in a major disruption of roads, rails, electricity and telecommunications and floods in some of the areas scheduled to go to the polls on October three.
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