Polling for six Lok Sabha seats in Bihar on Thursday started under the shadow of violence as Maoists killed two CRPF jawans and injured seven others when they were on their way to polling stations of Jamui constituency in Munger district.
Deputy Superintendent of Police, Khargpur, Ranjan Kumar told PTI that the security personnel belonging to 131 CRPF battalion were travelling in two jeeps to Tarapur in the Maoist-affected district for poll duty in the early hours when the attack took place.
The Maoists first detonated an improvised explosive device and then ambushed the CRPF personnel near Sawa Lakh Baba Mandir at the entrance of Bhimbandh jungle at around 5.30 AM. The security personnel returned the ultras’ fire.
The dead CRPF personnel have been identified as head constable Ravindra Rai and constable Sone Gora, Kumar said, adding their bodies have been kept at Kharagpur police station.
The seven injured have been rushed to Bhagalpur hospital, he said.
Maoists had earlier given a call for a poll boycott. Lok Janashakti Party President Ram Vilas Paswan’s son Chirag is in the fray from the Jamui parliamentary constituency against Bihar Assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary of JD (U) and Sudhanshu Shekhar Bhaskar of RJD.
In another incident, Gaya Police seized six can bombs weighing 30 kg each from Banke Bazar area under Imamganj Assembly segment, which is part of Aurangabad Lok Sabha seat, where too polls are underway.
The bombs were defused, Gaya senior superintendent of police Nishant Tiwari said.
Brisk voting is on in the six constituencies where polling is on in the state.
Election office sources said above seven per cent votes were cast in the first two hours of polling in Sasaram(SC), Aurangabad, Karakat, Gaya (SC), Jamui (SC) and Nawada.
Speaker of outgoing Lok Sabha Meira Kumar, former Kerala governor Nikhil Kumar, Bihar Speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary and BJP leader Giriraj Singh, besides Chirag Paswan are among the 80 in the reckoning today. Ten women candidates are in the fray.
Out of the 10215 pollings stations in the six constituencies, 3885 have been identified as critical by Election Commission.
In addition to the 51,000 security personnel deployed for conduct of free and fair polling in the Maoist-affected constituencies, patrolling is on by them on 350 motorcycles.
Three helicopters have also been pressed into service for surveillance, election commission sources said.
One air ambulance has been kept ready at Patna airport, an EC statement said.
A total of 94,57,323 lakh voters, 27,52,04 of them first timers, are expected to exercise their franchise in the six constituencies.