Less than 40 pc voter turn out in Ballia, Bikramganj bypoll

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Ballia/Patna, Dec 29 (UNI) Polling for byelections to the Ballia and Bikramganj Lok Sabha constituencies ended peacefully this evening with each recording about 40 per cent voter turnout.

The Ballia Lok Sabha seat had fallen vacant following the demise of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, while the byelection to the Bikramganj constituency was necessitated following the death of JD(U) MP Ajit Singh, who was killed in a road accident in Siwan this year.

About 38.7 per cent voting was recorded in Ballia, concluding peacefully at 1700 hrs.

Barring reports of technical flaws in EVMs from some areas, no untoward incidents were reported during the bypoll.

Voting was halted for five to ten minutes at booth nos 73 and 166 at Chilkahar Assembly segment due to technical flaws in the EVMs, which were later replaced.

The voting process began at 0700 hrs this morning amid unprecedented security arrangements. In all 16 candidates were in fray for the bypoll.

The principal Opposition, Samajwadi Party (SP) had fielded Neeraj Shekhar, son of late Chandra Shekhar, as its candidate while the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had pitched in Vinay Shankar Tiwari-- son of former Uttar Pradesh minister and strongman Hari Shankar Tiwari.

The BJP and the Congress gave tickets to Virendra Singh Mast and Rajiv Upadhyay, respectively.

The Election Commission had banned the entry of outsiders, including ministers, in the constituency from Thursday till the voting process, which ended today.

Police Superintendent L B Antony Kumar said about 55 companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Shashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) were deployed for security.

Besides, about 3,000 state police personnel were also deployed in the constituency on election duty.

Motorboats, manned by policemen, were pressed into service in Ghagra and Ganga rivers for vigil along the UP-Bihar border in the district.

Polling for by-election to the Bikramganj Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar ended peacefully this evening with reports of 34 per cent voting, the election office said.

State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sudhir Kumar Rakesh said voters of booth no 45 under Piro Assembly segment boycotted the election in protest against non-development of their area adding that only three votes were polled at booth no 180 under the Assembly segment.

Sources said foolproof security arrangements had been made for the polling. Besides district police force and BMP, 40 companies of paramilitary forces had been deployed at various polling booths for peaceful polling. Borders of the district had been sealed and all vehicles were being checked thoroughly.

As the polling process ended this evening, the fate of 12 candidates inclduing JD(U)'s Meena Singh, RJD nominee Ashok Kumar Kushwaha, CPI(ML) aspirant Arun Kumar Singh and BSP's Baliram Mishra were sealed in the EVMs.

Counting of votes for both the constituencies would take place on January 2.


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