Jharkhand panchayat polls: Maoists fire at voters

Monday, December 13, 2010

RANCHI - The third phase of Jharkhand’s maiden panchayat polls Monday witnessed some violence, with Maoists firing at voters in one incident, police said.

Voting began at 7 a.m. in the morning amid tight security. Polling is being held at 990 panchayats spread over 61 blocks in 20 districts. More than 32 lakh voters will decide the fate of 40,471 candidates in 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, 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 district, some 190 km from Ranchi, police said.

The five-phase panchayat elections began Nov 27.

The last panchayat polls were held in 1979 when the areas that make up Jharkhand were 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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