53 percent voting in Bihar, two CRPF men die in blast 


Patna, April 10 (IANS) About 53 percent of the electorate voted in six Lok Sabha constituencies of Bihar Thursday even as two troopers headed for poll duty were killed in a landmine blast, officials said.

"About 53 percent of the electors have voted. The polling was slow in the early hours, but picked up later in the day," Additional Chief Electoral Officer R. Lakshaman told media persons here after conclusion of voting.

A little over 94 lakh voters were eligible to choose from among 80 candidates, including 10 women, who were in the fray in Maoist-affected constituencies.

Prominent candidates in the fray are Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar from Sasaram, Bihar assembly Speaker Uday Narain Choudhary along with actor-turned-politician Chirag Paswan from Jamui, former Kerala governor and ex-Delhi Police chief Nikhil Kumar from Aurangabad, and former union minister Kanti Singh from Karakat.

The state witnessed violence during the poll process.

Two Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers were killed in a landmine blast in Munger district when they were on their way to a polling station in neighbouring Jamui parliamentary constituency.

The blast was triggered by rebels near Sawa Lakh Baba Mandir, close to Bhimbandh forest in Munger, about 175 km from here.

Additional Director General of Police Ravinder Kumar said the injured security personnel were admitted to a hospital.

The Jamui district administration cancelled voting at 12 polling booths.

Security forces also recovered two IEDs from the spot.

Police said a clash between rival groups was reported from Warsaliganj in Nawada in which three people were injured.

Similar incidents also took place at Belaganj in Gaya and Aurangabad.

Police in Chakand in Gaya opened fire in the air to disperse troublemakers who were attempting bogus voting at a polling booth.

Also, over three dozen cane bombs and IEDs -- in Gaya and Aurangabad parliamentary constituencies -- were recovered from near polling booths and defused.

In another incident, Maoists blasted a state-run school in Bihar's Lakhisarai district, police said, adding three live cane bombs were recovered from the school premises.

"Maoists blasted a school in Lakhisarai to create panic in neighbouring Jamui parliamentary constituency," a district police official said.

Bihar Chief Secretary A.K. Sinha said 46,000 security personnel, including 22,000 home guards, 74 companies of Bihar Military Police and 163 companies of central para-military forces, were deployed on election duty.

Sinha said three army helicopters at the disposal of the state government were used for air surveillance of Maoist-affected areas.

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