Over 67 percent votes cast in Jharkhand panchayat polls

Monday, December 13, 2010

RANCHI - Over 67 percent of the over-32 lakh electorate in 20 districts of Jharkhand turned out to vote in the third phase of panchayat polls Monday, an official said. Stray incidents of violence were reported.

“About 67.07 per cent polling took place in the third phase of the polls. The polling was by and large peaceful barring few incidents,” a state Election Commission official told IANS.

The highest turnout was recorded at Seraikela-Kharasawa district (77 percent) and the lowest in West Singhbhum (53 percent).

Voting began at 7 in the morning amid tight security and ended at 3 p.m. Polling took at 999 panchayats spread over 61 blocks in the 20 districts. There were 40,471 candidates in the fray.

Maoist guerrillas fired a few rounds at voters lined up outside a polling booth near Parangir village of West Singhbhum district, a police officer said. Security forces retaliated, forcing the Maoists to flee. No one was injured in the attack, he added.

In the second incident, a candidate was arrested in Giridih district after police recovered a bomb from his bag.

Gokul Prasad was carrying two bombs with him, one of which exploded when his bike collided with another two-wheeler near Rajdhanwar block of Giridih, some 190 km from Ranchi, police said.

In Chatra district, Maoists blew up a bridge on the Kaura-Rajpur road during the polling. No one was injured in the blast.

The five-phase panchayat elections in the state began Nov 27.

The last panchayat polls in the areas that make up Jharkhand were held in 1979 when it was still a part of Bihar. Even though the state was carved from Bihar Nov 15, 2000, panchayat polls were delayed due to a legal battle over reservations for tribals.

Filed under: Politics

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