BIHARSHARIF/BUXAR/ARA/AURANGABAD/SASARAM: Villagers of Chanduara assaulted Rajgir BDO Sajjan Lal Nigam and smashed the electronic voting machine (EVM) and his car in Nalanda while police had to fire six rounds at Agrarer Khurd under the Buxar parliamentary constituency on Sunday as the residents in several villages protested the administration’s move to defy their poll boycott call over lack of civic amenities, including roads.
Otherwise, barring sporadic incidents of violence, polling remained peaceful in the eight parliamentary constituencies of Nalanda, Patna Sahib, Pataliputra, Jehanabad, Ara, Buxar, Karakat and Sasaram where election was held in the seventh and last phase on Sunday.
The villagers of Chanduara assaulted Rajgir BDO Sajjan Lal Nigam and smashed the electronic voting machine (EVM) and his car as the residents of at least seven villages in Nalanda boycotted polls over lack of basic amenities. Chanduara villagers had put up a board regarding poll boycott over the lack of road and potable water in their village. Sources said they turned violent when Nigam reached there and asked anganwadi sevika Sharda Devi to cast her vote in booth number 299. Security personnel deployed at nearby polling stations rushed there and rescued the BDO. Nalanda DM Yogendra Kumar Singh said action would be taken against all those involved in the violence.
Sitting MP Kaushlendra Kumar is the JD(U) candidate in Nalanda against Ashok Kumar Azad Chandrawanshi of HAM(S). Incidentally, Nalanda is the home district of CM Nitish Kumar.
The residents also boycotted polls at booth numbers 39 and 156 in Shyam Nagar, at 177 in Juafar, at 92 in Dharampur, at 141 in Dularua Bigha and at booth number 30 in Muhaddipur in Nalanda parliamentary constituency over lack of education, roads and other basic amenities.
Police had to fire six rounds in the air to disperse the mob which turned violent when despite the poll boycott call over their demand for a proper road in the village, the local administration tried to take voters to booth numbers 266 and 267 at Agrarer Khurd under Dinara assembly segment of Buxar parliamentary constituency. Six official vehicles, including that of DSP (Bikramganj) Raj Kumar, were damaged and several police personnel got injured in the incident. Later, six persons were arrested. But, the officials failed to persuade the villagers to cast votes. RJD’s Jagdanand Singh is the Grand Alliance candidate against sitting MP Ashwini Kumar Choubey in Buxar.
Barring stone pelting at booth numbers 49 and 50 at Ekauna in Barhara assembly segment over claims of bogus voting, polling was peaceful in Ara where Union minister R K Singh was pitted against Raju Yadav of CPI(ML). GRP ASI Abdul Khan and home guard jawan Arvind Singh were injured in the stone pelting. ADM Kumar Manglam and Sadar SDPO Sanjay Kumar rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control. RJD MLA from Barhara, Saroj Yadav, also alleged bogus voting at booth number 99 in Keshavpur village and had a heated argument with the police personnel there.
EVM malfunctioning was reported from Tnakuppi under Goh block and Ahiyapur, Paranpura, and Malhaara under Haspura block. Otherwise, women outnumbered men at several booths in Obra, Nabinagar and Goh assembly segments of Aurangabad district in Karakat parliamentary constituency where RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha is trying to defend his seat against Mahabali Singh of JD(U). Some women found it difficult to choose their candidates because two ballot units were used due to large number of contestants in the fray.
Sasaram, where sitting BJP MP Cheddi Paswan has a tough fight against Meira Kumar of Congress, had the highest polling percentage (57.74%) among the eight seats in Bihar on Sunday. Over 50% voter turnout was recorded in 58 polling booths in the Maoist-infested villages under Chenari assembly segment. The district administration, however, relocated the polling booths atop Kaimur hills to the plains owing to security reasons. As a result, some of the voters had to walk over four hours down the hills to cast their votes. Subhash Kumar, a first-time voter, said, “I had to walk for three hours to reach the polling booth at Binod Nagar. The district administration didn’t provide any transport facility for the voters to reach the polling booths.”
(With inputs from Farrukh Nadim, Praveen and P Mishra)