Minor skirmishes mark ‘peaceful’ Patna municipal polls, turnout 46% | patna | Hindustan Times
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Minor skirmishes mark ‘peaceful’ Patna municipal polls, turnout 46%

Bihar Governor Ramnath Kovind and Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad were among the leading citizens of Patna who participated in polling for 75 wards of the civic body.

patna Updated: Jun 19, 2017 14:43 IST
Subhash Pathak & Mukesh K Mishra
These first time voters were excited to join in polling for Patna municipal corporation election on Sunday.
These first time voters were excited to join in polling for Patna municipal corporation election on Sunday. (AP Dube/HT photo)

PATNA Barring stray incidents of scuffle between supporters of the contestants at some booths, voting to elect councillors from 75 wards of the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) passed off peacefully, with about 46% of the voters exercising their right to franchise on Sunday. 

Repoll at three booths of a ward in Munger in southeastern Bihar and polling at Barsoi nagar panchayat of Katihar in north eastern Bihar, were also conducted without any major disturbance.

About 62% of the electors cast their votes in Munger, while polling for Barsoi nagar panchayat witnessed about 71% voters’ turn out, said state election commissioner Ashok Kumar Chauhan here, after the end of voting. 

In the state capital, governor Ram Nath Kovind cast his vote at the model polling booth of ward number 9 at Government girls’ middle school near Raj Bhawan. “Voting strengthens democracy and it reflects the people’s sentiments,” he said, after casting his vote. 

RJD chief Lalu Prasad, along with his former chief minister wife Rabri Devi, and health minister son Tej Pratap Yadav, also exercised his franchise at special booth of ward number 4, set up on the Bihar Veterinary College campus.

Exhorting the people to come out in large numbers and vote, Prasad said it was a polling exercise to elect people’s representatives for the local body, the lower rung democracy. “Election is of utmost importance for sustainability of democracy, be it the election for MPs, MLAs or even ward councillors,” he said. 

In a reference to cricket match between India and Pakistan, Birmingham (United Kingdom), Prasad said he always favoured keeping cricket as a sport between the two nations to the exclusion of politics. “The two countries should play matches (despite border tensions),” he added. 

The police had to resort to a mild lathicharge in Valmiki Nagar area in the state capital and detain several persons, who were indulging in stone pelting and blocking road during the election. Scores of agitating persons were detained by the police in Gardanibagh area, too.

Police said supporters of two contestants of ward number 10 had clashed with each other near Balmichak primary school, Gardanibagh and some of them received injuries in the incident. 

SSP, Patna, Manu Maharaaj said mild lathicharge was resorted to control the belligerent crowd. Scuffles were also reported from other localities including Shashtrinagar, Boring Road and Rajiv Nagar. The police also arrested Bittu Jaiswal, son of candidate Manoj Kumar alias Munna Jaiswal, who is contesting from ward number 67. 

Four persons were arrested from ward number 44 under Patrakar Nagar police station, while two were arrested from ward 33 under Kankarbagh police station. “A total of 123 persons were either detained or arrested, even as 93 motorcycles were seized by the police in their bid to maintain order and ensure fair conduct of the polling. 

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Police said supporters of two contestants of ward number 10 had clashed with each other near Balmichak primary school, Gardanibagh and some of them received injuries in the incident