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Smooth polling, 52% turnout, in second phase of Bihar polls

Satyavrat Mishra  |  Patna 

Defying Naxal threats, people of 45 constituencies in Bihar came out of their homes to cast their votes in the second phase of the legislative assembly elections. Around 52 per cent of the 5.9 million voters in today’s seats exercised their franchise.

However, a poll party is still missing amidst reports of Naxal attacks on a booth in Sitamarhi district.

Chief Electoral Officer Sudheer Kumar said, “Polling ended smoothly in all constituencies. By and large. this phase has been peaceful.”

Added Director-General of Police Neelmani: “A total of 109 persons have been arrested for electoral malpractices and trying to disturb polling. Even in the Naxal-affected areas, the process went on very smoothly.”

However, a poll party, comprising three state government officials went missing earlier in the morning from the Runisaidpur constituency in Sitamarhi district. The police is still trying to locate them.

Said the DGP: “Being a Naxal-prone area, we had decided to use Border Security Force jawans on that booth. But on Saturday evening, they (members of the polling party) left for the booth without any escort. When the BSF escort reached the booth, they found some burnt papers. We have located one of the four members of the polling party, who told us they have decided to rest with their relatives and come to the booth in morning. However, none of them except the above mentioned staff turned up for duty. We are yet to locate the other three. However, we are yet to come across any evidence or witness of the Naxal attack or kidnapping on that polling booth.”

Said the CEO: We are trying our best to locate these people. The SP of Sitamarhi is camping at the location.”

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First Published: Mon, October 25 2010. 00:05 IST