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Patna West by-poll records low turnout

Around 30 per cent voters had exercised their franchise in the first six hours of polling.

india Updated: Apr 24, 2006 16:31 IST

Slow polling was underway in the by-election in Bihar's Patna (West) assembly constituency held amid tight security on Monday with no violence reported.

Around 30 per cent voters had exercised their franchise in the first six hours of polling, election officials said.

"The turnout of voters was very slow," an official on duty said.

The Patna district administration has made elaborate security arrangement for the polling in view of 433 of 531 booths being declared "super sensitive".

Four companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were deployed near sensitive booths to conduct a free and fair poll. The Bihar Military Police and district police personnel have also been deployed.

Home Secretary Afzal Amanullah said intense patrolling was carried out to check any attempt by anti-socials to disturb the polls.

Digital cameras have been installed at polling stations to check against bogus voting, officials said.

There are 13 candidates in the fray, with the main contest between Congress candidate Ajay Kumar Singh and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s Nitin Navin, who is supported by the ruling Janata Dal-United.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal and its allies Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Nationalist Congress Party have extended support to the Congress nominee.

Nitin Navin is riding on a sympathy wave as he declared that he was contesting the by-election to fulfil the unfinished work of his father Navin Kishore Prasad Sinha, a BJP leader who died early this year following a heart attack.

Sinha represented Patna West four times. The death of Sinha, the BJP winner in the last assembly polls, necessitated the by-poll.

Votes will be counted April 27.

First Published: Apr 24, 2006 12:15 IST