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50% polling in Jharkhand amid Maoist violence

Source: PTI
April 17, 2009 02:24 IST
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In the face of the Maoist violence, about 50 per cent of the total voters exercised their franchise during the first phase of Lok Sabha elections in Jharkhand on Thursday.

"Barring stray incidents, the voting by and large concluded on a peaceful note. The voting percentage may increase as the process of compilation is still on," Assistant Chief Electoral Officer A K Sinha told media persons in Ranchi.

Stating that Maoists had damaged or burnt down some EVMs in Chatra and Khunti constituencies during the polling, Sinha said the total number of booths requiring re-poll could be determined only after the return of all the polling personnel.

The returning officer of Hazaribagh, meanwhile, said that he had recommended repolling in four booths in the Hazaribagh constituency.

The Maoists, who kidnapped some polling personnel from Hata village under Chatra Lok Sabha and Borha in Lohardaga constitutencies, later set them free, Sinha said. The security forces, who had a tough time dealing with the naxalites, recovered and defused two powerful bombs in Hazaribagh and Gumla. They also unearthed a third bomb planted merely hundred yards from a booth in Chatra, the police said. The rest eight constituencies, including five naxal-affected constituencies, will go for second phase of polling on April 23.

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