55% Polling; 8 Killed In Second Phase Of Elections

New Delhi, April 26 | Updated: Apr 27 2004, 05:30am hrs
An estimated 50 to 55 per cent of the 17.5 crore electorate on Monday cast their votes in the second phase of Lok Sabha elections for 136 seats in 11 states marred by violence that left eight people, including a polling magistrate and two security personnel, dead and several injured.

The highest percentage of polling of over 65 per cent was reported from Assam, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The polling in Srinagar from where National Conference president Omar Abdullah is seeking re-election, was by and large peacefull though voters turnout was moderate.

Among the 1,278 candidates whose electoral fortune was decided included Congress president Sonia Gandhi (Rae Bareli), her son Rahul (Amethi) Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi (Mumbai North central), defence minister George Fernandes (Muzaffarpur), RJD chief Laloo Yadav (Chapra), BSP chief Mayawati (Akbarpur), 10 Union ministers and two former prime ministers.

Orissa and Jharkhand recorded a turnout of about 55 per cent, followed by Uttar Pradesh and Goa with 40 to 45 per cent, Maharashtra 40 per cent and Manipur 35 per cent.

Polling was also held for the second and final phase of Assembly elections in 147 of the 294 seats in Andhra Pradesh, 104 of the 224 seats in Karnataka and 70 of the 147 seats in Orissa.

Reports of violence have come from Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.

The elections in the second phase covered 32 of the 80 LS seats in Uttar Pradesh, 24 of 48 seats in Maharashtra, 21 out of 42 in Andhra Pradesh, 17 out of 40 in Bihar, 13 of the 28 in Karnataka, 10 of the 21 in Orissa, eight in Jharkhand, seven in Assam, two in Goa and one each in Manipur and J&K.

Violence during polls claimed two lives each in Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and one each in Andhra Pradesh and Manipur, where militants had called for bandh and poll boycott.

In Manipur, a CRPF jawan was killed and four other security personnel were injured when militants opened fire at a polling booth in Bishenpur districts. Earlier reports had said two civilians were also killed in the incidents.

Two state ministers Bijoy Koijam and K Ranjit Singh escaped unhurt when militants attacked a polling booth in Imphal East district opening indiscriminate fire which was returned by their security guards.