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Five-phase Bihar battle ends; 56 percent vote in final round

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Patna: Curtains came down on Thursday on the staggered five-phase assembly elections in Bihar that pitted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP-led combine against the Grand Alliance of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, with more than half of the 1.55 crore electorate turning out to vote in the final round.

Polling in the last 57 of the 243 constituencies across seven districts: Kishanganj, Purnea, Araria and Katihar in Seemanchal region, and Saharsa, Madhepura and Supaul in Kosi region, saw a 56 percent turnout.

The 57 constituencies cover some of Bihar’s most backward pockets notorious for poverty, illiteracy and mass migration.

Balloting was by and large peaceful, even as stray clashes took place between rival groups.

Eight voters were injured when central paramilitary forces resorted to baton charge at polling booths in Araria and Katihar districts.

Four voters were injured at a polling booth in Jokihat assembly constituency in Araria, as security forces baton-charged villagers after someone attacked a security personnel on duty.

Similarly, security personnel had to use force at a polling booth in Katihar district to disperse anti-social elements trying to indulge in bogus voting, in which four people were injured, officials said.

Thousands of people — women outnumbering men — stood in long queues at polling stations from early in the morning, officials as well as witnesses said.

A total of 827 candidates contested on Thursday. Voting began at 7 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m., but those standing in queue at the close of polling were allowed to cast their ballot.

Janata Dal-United (JD-U) president Sharad Yadav voted in Madhepura and BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain in Supaul.

Bihar Police chief P.K. Thakur said polling was mainly peaceful.

In some places, the electronic voting machines malfunctioned. Apart from that, it was a smooth exercise.

Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi’s Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) is also contesting from six seats in Seemanchal region, and the Jan Adhikar Party of expelled RJD MP Pappu Yadav is also in the fray.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is banking heavily on Modi’s appeal and the support of the upper castes — Brahmins, Bhumihar, Rajputs — and also hopes to gain the backing of other communities.

Allied with the BJP are the Lok Janshakti Party of Ram Vilas Paswan and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party of Upendra Kushwaha — both union ministers — and the Hindustani Awam Morcha of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi.

The Grand Alliance includes the JD-U, the Rashtriya Janata Dal of Lalu Prasad and the Congress.

The millions of votes polled in the staggered elections that began on October 12 will be counted on November 8.

A large section of the 66.8 million electorate voted in the staggered elections.

The BJP contested 160 of the 243 assembly seats, the LJP 40, the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party 23 and HAM 20 seats.

In the Grand Alliance, the JD-U and the RJD fielded 101 candidates each while the Congress contested in 41 seats.

The Bihar election is a big test for the BJP, whose winning streak since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls was halted by the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi in February.

The jitters over the outcome of the Bihar assembly polls dented investors’ sentiments in the Indian equity markets and led a barometer index to provisionally close 287 points down on Thursday.

(IANS)

 

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At Least 883 Candidates Are Crorepatis and 645 Faces Criminal Cases in Karnataka Polls

Of the 220 candidates analysed from the ruling Congress, a total of 59 (27 per cent) have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits, while 32 (15 per cent) have serious criminal cases against them.

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Of the 2,654 candidates in the fray for the May 12 Karnataka Assembly elections, at least 883 are crorepatis and 645 have criminal cases against them, said two watchdogs after analysing their affidavits filed with the Election Commission (EC).
Karnataka Polls counting suggests big win for BJP, wikimedia commons

Of the 2,654 nominations in the fray for the May 12 Karnataka Assembly elections, at least 883 are crorepatis and 645 have criminal cases against them, said two watchdogs after analysing their affidavits filed with the Election Commission (EC).

“The average assets of the 883 (35 per cent) crorepati candidates are worth Rs 7.54 crore. Of the 645 contestants, 254 (10 per cent) face serious criminal cases and 391 (15 per cent) face criminal cases,” revealed a study by the Karnataka Election Watch and Delhi-based Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) ahead of the polls in the 223 constituencies across the state.

Of the 225-member lower house, including one nominated, election to the Jayanagar seat in the capital has been countermanded due tothe death of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate B.N. Vijaya Kumar on May 4.

Of the total candidates, the watchdogs could not analyse details of 95 candidates belonging to national, regional, local and fringe parties, as their affidavits were badly scanned or were incomplete on the websites of the poll panel and the Chief Electoral Officer of the southern state.

Affidavits of all the contesting 223 BJP candidates were analysed. Two hundred and eight (93 per cent) of the 223 candidates in fray from the BJP have declared assets worth over Rs 1 crore, the highest number among all the parties contesting.
Election Commission of India, IANS

Affidavits of all the contesting 223 BJP candidates were analysed. Two hundred and eight (93 per cent) of the 223 candidates in fray from the BJP have declared assets worth over Rs 1 crore, the highest number among all the parties contesting.

A total of 207 (94 per cent) of the 220 candidates from the ruling Congress, 154 (77 per cent) of the 199 candidates from Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and 199 (18 per cent) of the 1,090 Independents have declared assets more than Rs 1 crore.

The BJP candidates were found to be with the highest number of criminal cases against them, with 83 (37 per cent) of the 223 candidates in fray having criminal cases against them and 58 others (26 per cent) having serious criminal cases against them including murder.

Of the 220 candidates analysed from the ruling Congress, a total of 59 (27 per cent) have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits, while 32 (15 per cent) have serious criminal cases against them.

Of the 199 JD-S candidates analysed by the study, 41 (21 per cent) have criminal cases, and 29 (15 per cent) have declared serious criminal cases in their poll affidavits.

Of the total 1,090 Independents analysed, 108 (10 per cent) have declared criminal cases against themselves, and 70 (6 per cent) are accused of serious criminal charges.

Also Read: Modi Urges Karnataka BJP Women to Popularise His Schemes

The top three candidates with highest assets among all the candidates in fray belong to the ruling Congress — Priyakrishna, from Govindarajanagar constituency with Rs 1,020 crore worth total assets, N. Nagaraju from Hosakote Assembly seat with assets valued at Rs 1,015 crore and the state Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar from Kanakapura segment with Rs 840 crore assets.

Polling will be held in a single phase on May 12 for the 223 constituencies, including 36 reserved for the Scheduled Castes and 15 for Scheduled Tribes.

The votes will be counted on May 15. (IANS)