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Slow polling in Bihar amid violence; 2 killed in J'khand

Nearly 20 to 25% votes were cast till noon in 17 seats of Bihar while two persons were killed in J'khand mine blast.
PTI | By Press Trust of India, New Delhi
UPDATED ON APR 26, 2004 03:47 PM IST

Nearly 20 to 25 per cent votes were cast till noon on Monday in the 17 Lok Sabha constituencies of Bihar where a state minister was attacked by an angry mob and sporadic incidents of violence and booth capturing were reported.

RJD minister Udit Rai escaped unhurt while five others were injured when angry locals trying to prevent Dalits from voting began throwing stones at Rai and his supporters as they arrived at a booth at Nawadih in Chapra constituency.

Initially, the voting was delayed for some time due to defects in EVMs at several booths in Chapra, Hajipur, Siwan, Maharajganj, Muzaffarpur and Bagaha, official sources said.

Unidentified persons detonated a bomb and fired at Damodarpur-Sikatia and Barwe in Chapra to intimidate voters, but no casualty was reported.

RJD supremo Laloo Prasad Yadav is locked in a direct fight with Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy in Chapra.

Booth-capturing was reported in Harijantoli and Doriganj in Chapra, sources said.

Activists of RJD and CPI-ML(L) exchanged fire near a booth in Siwan constituency of RJD strongman Mohammed Shahabuddin.

One person was injured in a gunbattle between supporters of RJD and JD(U) MLA from Lalganj Vijay Shukla at Sahebganj in Vaishali Lok Sabha constituency, sources said, adding one Patiram was being operated for bullet injuries at a hospital at Sahebganj.

Booth-capturing by activists was reported from Baripatti in Darbhanga Lok Sabha constituency of Kirti Azad.

A poll personnel was also reported to have fled with an EVM from a booth in Darbhanga.

Meanwhile, in Jharkhand a polling officer and a police man were killed in a landmine blast where around 22 to 25 per cent of the electorate cast their votes for eight Lok Sabha seats till noon on Monday.

Assistant sub-inspector Ram Ratan Singh and polling officer Sashi Sekhar Harihar, a teacher by profession, were on their way to the booth when they stepped on a landmine at Banatala in Gumla district of the Lohardaga parliamentary seat, official sources said.

Polling in the other seven constituencies of Ranchi, Dumka, Raj Mahal, Godda, Singhbhum, Khunti and Jamshedpur was peaceful, they said.

There were also reports of delayed voting at many places due to defective electronic machines, which were replaced, the sources added.

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