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50-55% turnout in Bihar; 2 killed

Source: PTI
Last updated on: May 05, 2004 18:51 IST
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Two persons were killed and several injured at different places as explosions, clashes, firing, lathicharge and booth capturing were reported in Bihar, where polling was held in 12 Lok Sabha constituencies with an estimated 50 to 55% turnout on Wednesday.

Official sources said Rashtriya Janata Dal worker Tanik Yadav was shot dead and another critically wounded in a shootout at Chandwara village under Jamui assembly segment of the Munger Lok Sabha seat.

JD-U activist M Alam was killed and four others received bullet injuries in a clash at Nayagaon village in Munger.

In Saharsa, a presiding officer died of cardiac arrest at Gauri Pipra booth when polling was in progress.

Three poll personnel, including a presiding officer, six homeguards and a booth grabber were arrested in Madhepura where RJD chief Laloo Prasad Yadav is crossing swords with his bete-noire, Union Consumer Affairs Minister Sharad Yadav, the current MP from the seat.

Polling at the booth (number 66) was cancelled.

Balram Yadav, another presiding officer was caught red-handed while casting votes for a particular candidate at a booth in Munger seat.

Sources said 12 people were injured in clashes between supporters of two rival candidates at two booths in Balia, while bomb explosions, firing, booth capturing and lathicharge were reported from Madhepura, Munger, Banka, Purnea, Begusarai and Kishanganj.

Three people were injured in a clash and firing at Banmankhi in Purnea where jailed member of the dissolved Lok Sabha Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav is seeking a fourth term. He is pitted against Uday Singh of the BJP.

Defects in EVMs, intimidation of voters and some other irregularities were also reported from Madhepura.

A report from Madhepura said RJD men allegedly tried to capture booths at Rampur, Dumra and Ratanpura and forced the polling agents of JD-U nominee Sharad Yadav to flee.

RJD and JD-U supporters exchanged fire at a booth at Katghar under Munger Lok Sabha constituency but no casualty was reported.

Anti-socials exploded bombs and indulged in indiscriminate fire in front of a polling station at Navinagar and Talahatta booths of Munger constituency.

Two persons were injured, police sources said, adding the polling which was disrupted for some time, later resumed.

Unidentified persons also broke EVMs at Khaira and an adjoining booth, the sources said.

Initially, defects in EVMs were detected at Sahuganj in Madhepura which were later set right. Similar complaints were made by the presiding officer from some booths in Munger.

Polling did not start at some booths in Begusarai constituency where the EVMs were found defective.

An official report said two rival groups of people clashed at a booth at Amnaur in Purnea.

Talking to reporters before casting his ballot at a polling station in Madhepura, Sharad Yadav alleged that the district administration had not deployed securitymen in Saurbazar and Sonbersa assembly segments though all the booths in the constituencies had been declared sensitive.

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