Naxals strike in Jharkhand, Bihar, C’Garh as polling begins

jharkhand1 150x148 Naxals strike in Jharkhand, Bihar, CGarh as polling begins Polling for the first phase of elections to Lok Sabha began on a violent note with naxals striking in Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Bihar killing nine people even as voters trickled in at ballot booths across 17 states and union territories.
As soon as the polling began in Jharkhand, naxals struck at a BSF bus in Latehar district in which five BSF personnel and two civilians were killed.

Naxals also struck at polling booths in Chhattisgarh, triggering IED blasts and exchanging fire with security forces in Dantewada and Narainpur regions. There were no immediate report of any casualty.

A homeguard and a police personnel on poll duty were shot dead and another injured by naxals in Singhpur village under Banke Bazaar police station in Gaya district, police said.

Two other police personnel were missing. Voting began on a moderate note in 124 constituencies spread across 15 states and two union territories during which the fate of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, BJP’s Murli Manohar Joshi and Yashwant Sinha and TRS president K Chandrasekar Rao will be decided.

Polling began on a low key in Jammu-Poonch parliamentary constituency which included areas in the border region.

In Kerala, voters were seen trickling into booths as soon as the polling started in the morning.

Voting would end at 1700 hrs in most places, except in naxal-infested areas where it would close at 1500 hrs.
Over 14.31 crore voters are eligible to cast their ballot today across 1.85 lakh polling stations set up by the Election Commission and secured by tens of thousands of police personnel.

Elections to 154 Assembly segments in Andhra Pradesh and 70 in Orissa are also being held on Thursday.
While all 20 seats in Kerala, 11 in Chhattisgarh and two each in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya are going to polls in a single phase today, polling is being held in 13 out of 40 seats in Bihar, 16 out of 80 in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra 13 (48), Andhra Pradesh 22 (42), Jharkhand 6 (14), Orissa 10 (21), Assam 3 (14), Manipur 1 (2) and Jammu and Kashmir 1 (6).

The lone seats in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Mizoram and Nagaland are also covered in the first phase.

Prominent among those seeking elections to the lower house of Parliament are Union Ministers Praful Patel, Renuka Chowdhury, D Purandeswari, Santosh Mohan Dev, Meira Kumar, Rameshwar Oraon and E Ahamed and BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy, former UN Under-Secretary General Shashi Tharoor and south Indian actress Vijaya Shanti.