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Poll violence was due to TDP provocation: Home Minister

Written by: Staff
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Hyderabad, June 29 (UNI) Andhra Pradesh Home Minister K Jana Reddy today blamed the TDP for the 'violent incidents' in 11 districts that went to the polls yesterday for local body elections.

Briefing reporters on law and order in the districts here, he said the first phase local polls passed off peacefully compared to the 2001 local polls. ''Whatever violence took place in the state was 'due to the provocative statements of TDP leaders,'' he said.

''The TDP out of fear of defeat gave a call for dharnas and jail bharo at the time of elections. The TDP activists resorted to pouring ink in ballot boxes and staging dharna outside the polling booths at several places and spoiled the smooth polling atmosphere.

When police intervened to disperse them as part of their duty the TDP accused police of being highanded,'' he said.

Mr Reddy said despite all this, police maintained law and order and were responsible for smooth conduct of elections. He said 62,000 police personnel were deployed compared to 52,000 in 2001. In all, 15,858 persons were bound over as against 15,491 in 2001, he added.

He said police had to open fire in the air at 10 places compared to 16 in 2001. Bomb hurling incidents were reported at two places compared to four in 2001. 'Two murders took place in pre-poll violence in 2001 and now only one murder was reported. ''However, I am yet to get information regarding murders on poll day,'' he clarified.

Referring to the booth capturing incident in Kadapa, Mr Reddy said there were reports of booth capturing at three places compared to 26 places in 2001. With regard to repoll, during 2001 there were 36 repolls but only six repolls in 2006.

''I appreciate the efforts of the police in the first phase of elections to local polls. In the second phase the police would make efforts to do a better job.'' he said.

UNI ASJ AA MSJ ND1636

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