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Thursday, July 09, 2020

Forty Years Ago, June 1, 1980: Bihar Poll Violence

Gaya district topped the casualty list with five dead followed by Nalanda (four), Patna and East Champaran (two each) and Darbhanga, Nawadah, Monghyr, Saran, Sitamarhi, Begusarai and Vaishali districts (one each).

Published: June 1, 2020 4:08:18 am
Baghpat polling, polling in Baghpat, Baghpat elections, Express Editorial, Indian Express The police opened fire in Bakhtiarpur town and Maner as well, but no one was injured.

At least 20 persons were killed and over 70 injured in clashes between rival party workers in a series of violent incidents that marred the single-day polling in Bihar for 321 out of 324 constituencies in Bihar. Polling has been countermanded in Giridih, Hissus and Sandesh constituencies following the death of a candidate in each of them. Gaya district topped the casualty list with five dead followed by Nalanda (four), Patna and East Champaran (two each) and Darbhanga, Nawadah, Monghyr, Saran, Sitamarhi, Begusarai and Vaishali districts (one each). The police opened fire in Bakhtiarpur town and Maner as well, but no one was injured.

Assam Meet Off

The Lok Dal, Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Party boycotted the all-party meet on Assam convened by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In separate letters to the Prime Minister, Mrs Gandhi, the BJP president, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the Janata Party general secretrary, R K Hegde, regretted their inability to attend the meeting in view of such a short notice. Hegde urged in his letter for postponement of the meeting to another suitable date and release of the representatives of the Assam movement, amongst other conditions. Vajpayee in his letter said, “we fear that this meeting can only widen the immense gulf that has developed between the official New Delhi and the people of Assam of late.” He said that his party felt that a national consensus on Assam could not be evolved unless the leaders of Assam were also involved in the discussions.

Baghpat Polling

It was perhaps the dullest ever election in the Baghpat area, including the villages around it. With the exception of one booth in Saroorpur in the Harijan chaupal of the village, voter turn-out did not exceed the 50 per cent mark and was appreciably below it in most booths. The region also saw the Haryana chief minister, Bhajan Lal and the Lok Dal chief, Charan Singh, touring the area.

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