Maoist threat fails to throttle poll turnout
In Chhattisgarh, where Maoists carried out an audacious attack on Tuesday that killed a Bharatiya Janata Party legislator, the voting percentage was 53.6 for the Bastar seat, according to information received till 9pm on Thursday.
At some places, there were reports of EVM snags, which were rectified, an election official said. In 2014, the polling percentage in Bastar, which comprises the assembly segments of Dantewada, Konta, Bijapur and Narayanpur, was 59.31.
A Maoist was killed and a policeman was wounded in an encounter in Naryanpur on Thursday evening, the police said. In the morning, Maoists detonated an IED (improvised explosive device) in same district. Around 80,000 state and paramilitary personnel were deployed in the Bastar region for peaceful polling in view of a boycott call by Maoists.
The first phase of voting in Bihar’s four Maoist-hit constituencies was largely peaceful. According to data available at 9pm, the voting percentage at Nawada, Gaya, Jamui and Aurangabad was 50.
Altogether 44 candidates are in the fray for these constituencies, while eight are contesting in an assembly bypoll in Nawada.
HR Srinivasa, Bihar’s chief electoral officer (CEO), said altogether 36 people were arrested for disturbing the poll process. The police said they had to fire in the air to disperse a mob that tried to disrupt voting at Sisua in the Nawada Lok Sabha constituency.
About 41,000 security personnel were pressed into service and two helicopters were kept as standby in Bihar. In Gaya, suspected Maoists tried to foment trouble, and three live bombs were planted near schools in Dumaria.