AMID stray incidents of violence, which left one person dead, around 65 per cent of the voters exercised their franchise in the third phase of panchayat polls Saturday. Polling was held in 69 districts with 11,873 candidates in fray for the post of zila panchayat members and 96,014 testing their fate for 18,016 posts of kshetra panchayat members.
“Barring one incident in Ballia, we have not received information of any untoward incident from any district where polling was held today,” state election commissioner S K Agarwal told reporters here.
Rivalry over ongoing panchayat polls led to cross firing between sitting pradhan (village head) and his rival near a polling booth at Narhi in Ballia. The police have arrested the pradhan and supporter of his rival after lodging two separate FIRs into the incident.
While the DGP headquarters, it a statement issued in the evening, stated the firing to be a fallout of panchayat poll rivalry, SP, Ballia, Anees Ahmed Ansari denied it having any connection with the ongoing polls and claimed old enmity between the two groups led to the clash.
According to police, the incident occurred around 200 metres away from the polling booth at Ramgarh village when Ramnath (65) and his son Kamta (22), said to be supporters of sitting pradhan Rajesh Yadav, were on way to cast their votes. Meanwhile, supporters of pradhan and his rival Ramesh Yadav entered in heated exchange over casting of votes, which turned violent with both the groups exchanging fire.
Ramnath and his son Kamta suffered bullet injuries and were rushed to the hospital where the former succumbed to injuries. Kamta is undergoing treatment.
The police have arrested pradhan Rajesh Yadav and his rival Ramesh’s supporters Suresh and Jagat Narain after lodging two FIRs.