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7 killed in poll violence; turnout 68%

Seven people, including five BSF men were killed and many EVMs damaged in stray violence in north-east.

india Updated: Feb 27, 2003 12:11 IST

Seven persons, including five BSF personnel were killed, and three injured and a number of electronic voting machines damaged in stray violence in the north east as 68 per cent of an estimated 8.31 million voters cast their ballots in Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Tripura and Meghalaya on Wednesday amid tight security.

Tripura recorded the highest75 per cent, Nagaland 70, Meghalaya 68 and Himachal Pradesh70 per cent respectively.

Five BSF personnel and their driver were shot dead and three jawans injured by suspected national liberation front of Tripura militants, when they returning from poll duty at Snatarampara in West Tripura district.

In Nagaland, one person was killed when activists of rival parties clashed at Changtoniga town in Mokokchung district, home to Chief Minister SC Jamir.

Suspected militants also fired in the air to scare away voters in the same town.

Over 54 per cent votes were cast in by-elections to seven Assembly constituencies spread over six states.

Polling in rest of Nagaland was smooth and peaceful with an estimated turn out of 70 per cent exercising their franchise.

Though there are seven national and three regional political parties in the fray, the main battle for the 60-member Assembly is confined between ruling Congress and new-formed Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) with Nagaland People's Democratic Alliance and BJP being two of its major constiuents.

In Himachal Pradesh, where BJP and Congress are the main contenders for power, 63 per cent of four million voters cast their ballots to elect 65 members of the 68-member Assembly.

Polling passed off peacefully and no untoward incidents were reported from any part of the state.

The highest polling of 78 per cent was recorded in Nagorta Bhagwan constituency followed by 70 per cent in Kangra, Una, Hamirpur and Bilaspur districts and Shimla recorded lowest turnout of 50 per cent.

Tripura recorded a high turnout of 72 per cent despite threats of violence by insurgent group of National Liberation Front of Tripura.

In Meghalaya, 68 per cent turnout was recorded. Polling was peaceful barring a single incident of EVM snatching at a polling booth in the Jayantia hills.

Among the prominent candidates whose electoral fates were decided include chief ministers Prem Kumar Dhumal (Himachal Pradesh), SC Jamir (Nagaland), Flinder Anderson Khonglam (Meghalaya), Manik Sarkar (Tripura), former chief ministers VB Singh, Sudhir Ranjan Majumdar and Samir Ranjan Burman.

First Published: Feb 26, 2003 21:05 IST