4th phase of panchayat polls in Bihar
Voting for the fourth phase of Bihar panchayat polls began today amidst tight security with no reports of violence, officials said.india Updated: Apr 30, 2011 10:23 IST
Voting for the fourth phase of Bihar panchayat polls began on Saturday amidst tight security with no reports of violence, officials said.
Polling started at 7 am and voters, particularly women and youths, were seen queueing up at booths despite a boycott call by Maoists.
Additional Director General of Police Rajwardhan Sharma said that polling was underway peacefully and no violence had been reported yet.
He said that security forces, including para military personnel, have been deployed at polling booths to ensure free and fair polls.
"Strict action would be taken against those found trying disturb the poll process," he said.
An official in the state election commission said voting is taking place in 62 blocks, 19 of which are Maoist affected, in 37 districts to elect 27,928 village council members. There are 93,560 candidates in the fray in this round.
Till date, nearly 3.89 lakh "troublemakers and habitual offenders" have signed bonds promising not to disrupt the panchayat polls in Bihar, police said.
Early this month, the state election commission made it clear that if a candidate is attacked or intimidated in the panchayat polls, his rival will be named in the police report.
The first round of Bihar's 10-phase panchayat polls April 20 saw a police Officer and a woman voter being killed in a Maoist attack in Jamui district. Around half a dozen people were injured in clashes between rival groups in various parts of the state, officials said.
The second and third rounds also witnessed sporadic incidents of violence.
The Maoists have issued a poll boycott call and threatened to disrupt the elections.
Elections in Bihar were once known for violence and booth capturing. In the 1999 Lok Sabha elections, 74 people were killed in poll-related violence. About 20 people were killed in the 2004 general elections and 158 during the 2001 panchayat elections.
The 10-phased polls for 2,62,000 panchayat posts will end May 28.