Garwah, Mar 29: About 15 per cent of an estimateed 13.66 lakh electorate &13;cast votes till 1000 hrs, as polling in the naxal-dominated Palamu bypolls began &13;at 0700 hrs here amid tight security today.
Altogether 15 candidates were &13;in the fray, which was necessitated after Mr Manoj Bhuiyan(RJD) quit Lok Sabha &13;membership, following cash-for-query scam.
Despite the presence of large &13;number of aspirants, the main fight was apparently confined within the NDA, UPA &13;and JVM(Democratic). The prominent three candidates are Jawahar Paswan(BJP), &13;Prabhat Bhuiyan(JVM-D) and Ghuran Ram(RJD).According to official &13;sources, no untoward incident was reported so far.
Security was kept on &13;high alert with anti-landmine squads and sniffer dogs engaged in sanitising &13;vulnerable roads as precautionary measure for the past few days.
Besides, &13;two helicopters were pressed into service for aerial survey to monitor &13;anti-social activities.
Extra vigil was maintained at Garwah where 520 &13;polling booths were identified as sensitive of 614 spread over the &13;district.
Director General of Police J B Mahapatra said elaborate &13;security arrangements had been made to avoid landmine explosions adding 157 &13;routes in the entire constituency were identified where the naxals were likely &13;to plant landmines.
About 53 companies of paramilitary forces, including &13;17,000 security personnel, were deployed to ensure smooth polling at total 1,315 &13;booths of which 683 were identified as sensitive all over the seat, the sources &13;said.
Except for March 27 bus accident near here, where 16 polling &13;personnel, mostly teachers, were killed and about as many injured, the &13;electioneering was by-and-large peaceful.
EVMS were used in all polling &13;booths, as an estimated 13,66,000 electorate were eligible to excercise &13;franchise in the constituency, comprising two districts - Garwah and Palamu - &13;spread over six Assembly segments-Daltonganj, Bhawnathpur, Chatarpur, Garwah, &13;Hussainabad and Vishrampur.
At present, out of six Assembly seats, four &13;were under the UPA allies.
Counting would be held on April 1.