Blank police firing at 2 places, 61% votes polled

Police fired in the air in East Champaran and Aurangabad districts while a bomb was recovered in Naxalite-affected Gaya as stray incidents of violence marked the fourth phase of panchayat polls in Bihar on Saturday with an estimated 61.41 per cent electorate having exercised their franchise.

Police fired six rounds in air to scare away a stone pelting crowd which was prevented from booth capturning in Bharthauli village under Muffasil police station area in district, state election commissioner J K Dutta said.

In East Champaran district, police again fired two rounds in the air to quell a mob at a polling booth under Kantari East panchayat area, the official said.

In maoist-hit Gaya, timely detection of a bomb from a polling booth in Noni panchayat under Tekari police station area prevented a tragedy.

In Khagaria district a candidate for the post of 'mukhiya' was shot dead by miscreants at Vishanpur village late Friday night, police said.

Terming the fourth phase of polls as by and large peaceful except few incidents, Dutta told reporters voting took place in 12,461 polling stations for 27,098 posts, spread over 62 blocks of 38 districts, Dutta said.

Katihar district recorded the highest turnout of 71 per cent, while the lowest turnout was noted in Sitamarhi district, 51 per cent.

The security forces arrested 967 persons from across the state and seized Rs. 1.05 lakh in cash, four weapons, 115 rounds of cartridge, 192 vehicles, 21 mobile phones and 50 pouches of liqour as part of preventive measures against booth rigging and other electoral malpractices, Dutta said.

Police arrested three persons at Suryagadha panchayat in Lakhisarai district for poll-related offences, while four others were held from a polling booth under Jehanabad police station area in Aurangabad district for scrapping ballot papers.

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