The second phase of polling for 13 Lok Sabha seats was marred by few minor incidents of explosion and police firing. The JD (U) nominee from Vaishali Vijay Kumar Shukla alias Munna Shukla was arrested on the charge of damaging an EVM in Paroo Assembly segment of Vaishali Lok Sabha constituency.
DGP D N Guatam said that the police had to open fire three rounds in air to quell a group of miscreants, who tried to grab polling booth number 176 at Sultanpur in Hajipur Industrial area police station in Hajipur parliamentary constituency. However, no one was injured, he said.
Gautam said that some unknown miscreants exploded a landmine on Bhakhri-Bhitiharwa Road, about 300 yards away from polling booth number 166 under Patahi police station of East Champaran district. A vehicle was partially damaged. However, there was no casualty, he said.
An estimated 44 per cent of the 1.69 crore voters exercised their franchise to seal the fate of 189 candidates, including six Union Ministers, in the fray for 13 Lok Sabha constituencies.
“Except a landmine explosion in East Champaran and an incident in which a JD (U) nominee damaged an EVM in Vaishali parliamentary constituency, no violence was reported,” said Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sudhir Kumar Rakesh.
He said that 287 persons, including RJD MLA from Ghorasahan, Lakshmi Narayan Yadav, were arrested on the charge of attempt to disrupt the poll process. The maximum number of arrest (76) was reported from Vaishali, followed by Samastipur (58), Madhubani (53), Darbhanga and Sitamarhi (27 each), Muzaffarpur (20), West Champaran (18) and Sheohar (7).
The CEO said that raids were on to arrest JD (U) nominee from Vaishali Vijay Kumar Shukla alias Munna Shukla for his alleged complicity in damaging EVM at polling station number 218 in Baruraj Assembly segment of Vaishali. Of the 20,281 EVMs deployed at 17,140 polling booths, 31 EVMs were required to be replaced.
The CEO said that the Commission received 500 complaints related to issues like non-functioning of EVMs and booth grabbing, which were verified and necessary action was taken. Polling at two booths was disturbed after a fire broke out at Dharfari village at Paroo under Vaishali Lok Sabha constituency. The poll personnel had to remove the EVMs from the site.
There were reports of poll boycott from approximately 40 polling stations, owing to different reasons. “The suitable decisions will be taken after the receipt of inquiry reports from the field officers,” he added.
The CEO said that the highest polling percentage (52) was reported from Muzaffarpur while Darbhanga, Ujiarpur and Madhubani registered the lowest percentage at 42.
With the polling over, the fate of four Union Ministers including Ram Vilas Paswan, Prof Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Akhilesh Prasad Singh, Dr Shakeel Ahmad, MAA Fatimi and Raghunath Jha and former Chief Minister Ram Sundar Das was sealed.
The other prominent leaders trying their luck at the elections include former NDA convenor George Fernandes, Lalu Prasad’s estranged brother-in-law and Congress nominee Sadhu Yadav, filmmaker Prakash Jha, state RJD chief Abdul Bari Siddiqui, Devendra Prasad Yadav, veteran socialist leader Mangani Lal Mandal and former Cricketer Kirti Azad.
The India and Nepal border adjoining the naxal-hit constituencies of Valmikinagar, West Champaran, East Champaran, Madhubani and Sitamarhi were sealed and shoot-at-sight orders remained in force to ensure free, fair and peaceful poll.