Bypolls: 4 dead in Srinagar as protestors clash with police
Complaints of defective EVMs were also reported from Madhya Pradesh and Assam. Byelections were held for 10 Assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat on Sunday
At least four people were killed as protestors clashed with security forces in Srinagar during the by-election for the Lok Sabha seat on Sunday.
Army was called out to help security forces control a rampaging mob which pelted stones and hurled petrol bombs to set a polling booth ablaze in the Ganderbal district of the Srinagar constituency.
Hundreds of protestors stormed a polling station at Pakherpora in Chrar-e-Sharief area of Budgam district and ransacked a building housing a polling booth, officials said, adding the security forces fired several warning rounds to disperse the mob, which did not relent.
Six persons were injured in the firing, of whom two later succumbed to injuries.
In another incident, security forces opened fire to quell a stone-pelting mob in Ratxuna Beerwah area, leaving one person dead. The fourth person was killed in firing by security personnel at the Daulatpura in Chadoora assembly segment of Budgam district. Another succumbed to multiple pellet injuries in the Magam town near Srinagar.
The officials said the BSF, deployed for security of the polling stations, fired live rounds as they were not provided with pellet guns.
Security force personnel were forced to abandon two polling stations in Chadoora area as they came under heavy stone-pelting by mobs, the officials said.
Violence marred polling in some other parts of the Srinagar parliamentary seat as stone pelting incidents were reported from over two dozen other places across the three districts of Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal which constitute the Srinagar constituency, they said.
The voter turnout was very low till 1400 hours with only 5.52% of the 12.61 lakh electorate exercising their franchise, the officials said. Large number of voters in many areas chose to give polling a miss, even in places like Ichgam, Maloora and Budgam which have traditionally seen high turnout.
Ten assembly seats in 8 states also go for polls
Besides Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, 10 assembly seats in eight states also voted in by-elections on Sunday. The assembly seats polling include Rajouri Garden in Delhi, Litipara in Jharkhand, Nanjangud and Gundlupet in Karnataka, Dholpur in Rajasthan, Kanthi Dakshin in West Bengal, Alter and Bandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh, Bhoranj in Himachal Pradesh, and Dhemaii in Assam.
Another important assembly constituency, Dr Radha Krishnan Nagar in Chennai which was formerly held by late chief minister Jayalalithaa, goes to election on April 12.
Assam: Voting marred by complaints of EVM malfunctioning
Eight Electronic Voter Machines (EVMs) and 28 Voters Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines had to be replaced from certain polling booths after complaints as the assembly seat of Dhemaii went to by-polls on Sunday.
A total of 56.35% of over two lakh voters exercised their franchise till 3 pm, according to local officials. Announcing this, Returning Officer Roshni Aparanji Korati said that no untoward incident has been reported.
The bypoll was necessitated following the election of BJP MLA Pradan Baruah to the Lok Sabha after Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal vacated his parliamentary seat.
Madhya Pradesh: EVMs replaced in 8 places
Firing incidents were reported from at least two places after Congress and BJP workers clashed during the by-poll in Madhya Pradesh's Ater assembly seat on Sunday.
The State Electoral Office dismissed reports of booth capturing. Two more Special Armed Forces (SAF) companies (nearly 200 personnel) have been pressed into service at Ater, where 34% polling was recorded by 1 pm.
In Bandhavgarh (Umaria), another assembly segment where polling was underway, voter turnout was 37% by 1 pm. “The firing incidents were reported from two places.
The security personnel fired in the air at Sankri village booth to avoid a clash between the BJP and Congress workers. “Another incident of firing was reported near booth number 172 (Goarkala),” State Electoral Officer of Madhya Pradesh Salina Singh told reporters at a press conference. “The incident of firing took place one kilometre away from booth number 172 and as of now more details of this incident are awaited,” said Singh.
She denied any booth-capturing in Ater and Bandhavgarh. When asked about allegations of Congress that gun shots were fired at its candidate in Ater Hemant Katare at Sankri village booth, Singh said that there was a dispute between booth agents of Congress and BJP.
“The Congress candidate stayed for a long time inside the booth. This deteriorated the situation resulting in a clash between the polling agents. Police had to fire in the air to control the situation. Some vehicles were also damaged during this clash,” she added. Singh said that both the Congress and BJP candidates were provided additional security.
Karnataka: Congress looks to retain both seats on CM’s home turf
Two assembly seats, Nanjanagud and Gundlupet, are voting in by-polls in chief minister (CM) Siddaramaiah's home turf. The stakes are high for the Karnataka CM who campaigned extensively in the lead up these elections. Many observers are seeing the by-elections as a test of popularity of the CM ahead of next year's state assembly elections.
Both the seats were held by Congress candidates previously.
The polls have been necessitated in Gundlupet and Nanjanagud following the death of Cooperation Minister Mahadeva Prasad and resignation of V Srinivas Prasad as a Congress MLA after he was dropped from the ministry, respectively.
An estimated 45% of the voters exercised their franchise till 2.30 pm, according to local officials.