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Over 60 pc voter turnout in assembly by-polls

Source: PTI
Last updated on: November 07, 2009 21:23 IST
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Over 60 percent of voters turned out on Saturday in the by-elections to one Lok Sabha and 31 assembly seats spread over seven states, which were by and large peaceful.

The polls were held under the watchful eyes of security forces and paramilitary personnel who kept a strict vigil in all the constituencies.

In Firozabad Lok Sabha seat, where Congress candidate Raj Babbar is pitted against Mulayam Singh Yadav's daughter-in-law Dimple, 53 percent polling was registered, whereas in 11 assembly seats in the state, the turnout was 41.67 percent.

The Lok Sabha by-election was necessitated after Akhilesh Yadav, son of the SP chief, vacated the seat and retained Kannauj.

Two minor incidents of violence were reported from Uttar Pradesh where two persons, including a woman, were injured in a clash during polling at a booth in Jasrana area of Firozabad parliamentary constituency, official sources said in Lucknow.

In Jaunpur, the cavalcade of Bahujan Samajwadi Party's Rari assembly seat candidate Rajdev Singh, father of BSP Member of Parliament Dhananjay Singh, was allegedly attacked by unidentified people during polling hours at Tikrara police station area, the police said.

In West Bengal, a turnout of 65 percent was recorded in the by-elections to 10 assembly seats, state chief election officer Debasish Sen said in Kolkata.

The by-elections in the state are being viewed as a dress rehearsal for the 2010 assembly polls.

These by-polls are considered politically crucial, as the outcome will reflect whether the ruling Left Front, that suffered a series of setbacks in some recent polls, is able to reverse the trend.

It will also show whether the Left parties have been able to put a check on the string of successes achieved by the Trinamool Congress-Congress electoral alliance.

By-elections to nine seats in West Bengal are being held as Members of Legislative Assembly from these seats have been elected as MPs, while in one seat, it is due to the death of state's former transport minister Subhas Chakraborty.

Tight security arrangements were made for the by-polls with 400 personnel of central forces deployed to ensure peaceful elections in the state, which has been witnessing frequent political clashes.

Over 75 percent voters turned up in the bypolls in Kannur, Ernakulam and Alappuzha Assembly constituencies in Kerala, another Left-ruled state.

The by-polls, necessitated following resignation of Congress MLAs on their getting elected to Lok Sabha, have gained importance as the Communist Party of India-Marxist-led ruling Left Democratic Front sees it as an opportunity to boost its sagging morale after the Left Front's dismal show in the May Lok Sabha polls.

The main contest in all the three seats is between the ruling LDF and Congress-led United Democratic Front, which is leaving no stone unturned to ensure victory in these seats.

In Rohroo and Jawali assembly seats of Himachal Pradesh, about 68 percent polling was recorded by-poll in the two assembly seats is taking place due to resignation of Union Steel minister Virbhadra Singh and Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Kangra Rajan Sushant respectively.

Singh had represented the seat, which is part of his Bushare royalty, for past 19 years before moving to Delhi.

In Rohroo, a polling party travelled at least 14 km from the nearest road to reach the booth at Pandar in the interiors of Dodra Kawar.

Voting in by-poll to Vaishali Nagar assembly seat in Durg district of Chhattisgarh was held under tight security and a voter turnout of 58 percent was recorded.

Despite the presence of over a dozen candidates, the main fight is between ruling BJP's Jageshwar Sahu and Bhajan Singh Nirankari of the Congress.

The by-poll was necessitated after BJP legislator Saroj Pandey was elected to the Lok Sabha from Durg in May.

In Rajasthan, over 50 percent voters cast their ballots for Salumber and Todabheem assembly seats, which fell vacant when the sitting MLAs were elected to the Lok Sabha.

The outcome of the polls is being considered crucial for measuring the popularity of the Ashok Gehlot government and determining the stance of Gujjars after the Rajasthan high court's recent stay on reservation granted to them.

Voting was also held for two seats in Assam -- Salmara South and Dhekiajuli. The average turnout was 71 percent.

Counting of votes will be taken up on November 10.
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