Patna: An independent candidate was shot at and seriously injured on Saturday in Bihar’s Madhubani district and a time bomb was recovered near the gate of an out-of-favour BJP legislator who is contesting as independent candidate, police said.
The incidents took place ahead of the first phase of voting on Monday.
Sunil Jha, who is in the fray as an independent candidate from Jhanjharpur assembly seat in Madhubani district, was shot at by unidentified criminals during robbery at his residence. Jha was hospitalised.
“It could be a part of political rivalry during the election. We are investigating into the case from all angles,” a police official said.
In the second incident, a time bomb was planted near the office of Rashmi Verma, who was denied ticket by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and was contesting as an independent from Narkatiaganj assembly seat. A threat letter asked her not to contest the polls.
“We have defused the time bomb and began an investigation,” a police official said.
Last week too she got a threat letter asking her not to contest the upcoming Bihar assembly polls as a rebel candidate, prompting her to lodge a complaint with the Sikarpur police station.
The letter, according to her, also threatened that if she goes ahead and contests the polls, it will not be good for her children.
The BJP was on Tuesday set to return to power in its southern bastion Karnataka as its candidates crossed the half-way mark in vote count, stunning and ousting the ruling Congress and leaving the JD-S at the third spot.
Noisy celebrations broke out in party offices in Bengaluru, New Delhi and across Karnataka as Bharatiya Janata Party nominees were on the victory lap in 118 of the 222 constituencies which voted on Saturday.
This was a dramatic jump from the 40 seats the BJP won five years ago.
The Congress, desperate to retain power in the state amid shrinking appeal nationally, suffered major blows and was ahead only in 62 seats, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah trailing in both the constituencies he contested: Badami and Chamundeshwari.
The Congress leader was way behind G.T Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal-Secular in Chamundeshwari, Election Commission officials said. And after leading initially, Siddaramaiah fell behind B.R. Sriramulu of the BJP in Badami.
In contrast, the BJP’s Chief Ministerial face B.S. Yeddyurappa was ahead of his Congress rival by more than 11,000 votes in Shikaripura.
Energy Minister and Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar said that the numbers indicated that his party was on the way out after five years in power.
Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.
The BJP was overjoyed. “We are in a jubilant mood because we have crossed the half-way mark. We are confident of winning,” spokesman S. Shantharam told IANS.
BJP activists and leaders celebrated noisily in both Bengaluru and New Delhi, waving party flags and shouting slogans hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, their main vote-getter, and party President Amit Shah.
There were also celebrations outside the residence of Yeddyurappa, who has been Chief Minister earlier too.
The Janata Dal-Secular of former Prime Minister H.D. Dewe Gowda, which has been expected to play the role of a kingmaker in the event of a hung Assembly, was leading in 40 seats — the same number it won five years ago.
As the vote count progressed, BJP leaders became assertive, saying they were confident of taking power again in Karnataka while Congress leaders began to speak about the possibility of an alliance with the JD-S.
BJP leader and Union Minister Sadanand Gowda said that there was no question of any alliance.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar, who is in charge of Karnataka, met BJP President Amit Shah in New Delhi.
Analysts said the BJP was leading in Lingayat dominated seats and the JD-S in Vokkaliga dominated areas.
Expectations of a BJP victory in Karnataka lifted the key Indian equity indices during the mid-morning trade session on Tuesday.