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Bihar Polls: Third phase ends with 53 per cent vote

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Patna: The third phase of Bihar’s staggered assembly polls ended on Wednesday evening, with 53.20 per cent of the 14.5 million electorate voting in 50 constituencies across six districts.

Additional Chief Electoral Officer R Lakshmanan said the exercise passed off peacefully, including in areas where Maoists are active. There were only minor clashes between rival political activists.

According to officials, more than 7.5 million people voted during the day in a battle that has pitted the BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the Grand Alliance of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

The voters on Wednesday included Nitish Kumar, his ally and RJD leader Lalu Prasad, BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Modi and BJP’s dissident MP Shatrughan Sinha.

After voting in Patna with his family, Lalu Prasad, a former chief minister, hit out at Modi.

“Modi is playing the communal card on reservation. People in the country never expected such words from the prime minister,” he said.

He was referring to Modi’s statement that the Grand Alliance was trying to put in quotas in jobs and educational institutions for Muslims.

Sushil Modi also voted in Patna. And so did Nitish Kumar and Shatrughan Sinha, a Bollywood veteran who has embarrassed the Bharatiya Janata Party by publicly praising Nitish Kumar.

When journalists asked him who he thought will win the Bihar battle, Sinha retorted: “Khamosh” (silence). The MP has been sidelined by the BJP in the election campaign.

Polling began at 7 a.m. in the districts of Patna, Saran, Vaishali, Nalanda, Bhojpur and Buxar. It got over at 4 p.m. in 10 constituencies located in Maoist strongholds. Elsewhere it ended at 5 p.m.

Nalanda is Nitish Kumar’s home turf, and is widely known as ‘Kurmistan’ due to the dominance of his Kurmi caste.

As in the first and second rounds of polling on October 12 and 16, serpentine queues formed at polling stations since early in the morning.

Officials said voters in over a dozen villages boycotted the polls to protest what they said was lack of development in their areas.

Lalu Prasad’s prestige was at stake on Wednesday as his sons Tej Pratap Yadav and Tejaswi Yadav were in the fray. They contested from Mahua and Raghopur respectively in Vaishali district.

The BJP is banking heavily on Dalits and other backward castes, including Yadav voters, besides most upper castes to get the winning votes. Its allies include the Lok Janshakti Party, Hindustani Awam Morcha and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party.

The JD-U has tied up with the RJD and Congress.

According to the Association for Democratic Reforms and the National Election Watch, 215 of the candidates in the third round-faced serious criminal charges, including those of murder.

The staggered elections to pick a 243-member Bihar assembly will end on November 5. The results will be known on November 8. The fourth round of polling will take place on November 1.

(IANS)

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Saw AAP MLAs Assaulting Chief Secretary, CM’s Advisor Tells Police

The AAP defended by stating that Jain had initially told police that he did not witness any assault and police has threatened Jain to change his statement

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The AAP had denied the charges of assault and said that the Chief Secretary was making allegations at the behest of the BJP. Wikimedia Commons

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s adviser V. K. Jain on Thursday told police that he saw AAP MLAs Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal “physically assaulting” Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, according to Jain’s statement recorded by the Delhi Police.

The AAP defended by stating that Jain had initially told police that he did not witness any assault and police has threatened Jain to change his statement.

On Tuesday, the Chief Secretary had alleged that he was beaten up by the two AAP MLAs in the presence of Kejriwal at the Chief Minister’s residence on Monday night, where he had been called for an emergency meeting.

ALSO READ: The assault on Chief Secretary exposes the double standards of AAP government

Police later arrested Khan and Jarwal and they were sent to judicial custody till Thursday.

According to the Chief Secretary, the Chief Minister’s adviser had called him over the phone and asked him to come to the Chief Minister’s residence for the meeting and Jain was also present there.

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According to the statement, Jain also saw that the Chief Secretary’s spectacles had fallen to the ground and the Chief Secretary picked them up and left the room. Wikimedia Commons

On Thursday, the Delhi Police submitted Jain’s statement at a city court, which said that Jain had gone to the washroom during the meeting and as he came out he saw the two AAP MLAs “physically assaulting” the Chief Secretary.

The statement was recorded under Section 161 of the CrPC, which means that it was recorded in front of the police and not a magistrate.

Sources told IANS that Jain later recorded his statement in front of a magistrate under section 164 of the CrPC.

“The statement under section 164 was later recorded with the magistrate in front a camera, without the presence of police. In that statement also he (Jain) has said that he saw the two MLAs physically assaulting the Chief Secretary,” a police officer privy to the case told IANS.

The officer said that the statement under section 164 has also been submitted to the court.

Jain was first questioned on Wednesday morning and then again on Thursday and his statement was recorded on Thursday.

The change in Jain’s statement that the AAP was referring to was from a “question and answer” with Jain recorded by police after questioning him on Wednesday.

According to a copy of Wednesday’s “question and answer” recorded by police, when asked whether Jain saw the Chief Secretary being manhandled, he replied that he had gone to the washroom in between the meeting and he could not say what happened during that time.

“By putting pressure on him (Jain) throughout the day (Thursday) and by threatening him, police has forced him to change his statement,” AAP MP Sanjay Singh told the media here on Thursday.

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Singh said that the whole issue was a conspiracy to “bring down the Delhi government” and to “defame the AAP”. Wikimedia Commons

 

“How is it that the same Jain who emphatically said yesterday that he witnessed no assault during the entire time that he was present there has now claimed otherwise?” he asked.

Singh said that AAP MLAs were being arrested over an alleged assault of which there was no proof.

“But on the other hand, despite there being video footage of officials assaulting Delhi Cabinet Minister Imran Hussain, there is no action taken against the guilty by the Delhi Police,” the AAP MP said.

The court on Thursday sent the two AAP MLAs, arrested on charges of assaulting the Chief Secretary, to judicial custody for 14 days.

ALSO READ: Delhi Chief Secretary row: AAP MLA arrested

Orders on the bail pleas of the two AAP MLAs and also on their police custody will be pronounced on Friday.

Meanwhile, scores of Delhi government employees across the city observed a five-minute silence outside their respective offices as a protest against the alleged assault on the Chief Secretary.

The IAS Association said that officers would continue the protest every day, till steps are taken to “ensure safety and dignity” of government staff in the city.

The AAP also hit out at Lt Governor Anil Baijal by stating that he was “working as a BJP agent” and demanded action against those involved in “manhandling and beating up” Hussain and his aide at the Delhi Secretariat on Tuesday. (IANS)