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Get, set, ready for Round I
Security blanket on 6 seats in Red zone

Patna, April 8: Amid the shadow of the threat of Naxalites, the high-pitch campaigning for six Lok Sabha seats of Bihar going to polls on Thursday (April 10) came to an end this evening.

The six constituencies — Sasaram, Karakat, Aurangabad, Gaya, Nawada and Jamui — are located in sensitive, Naxalite-affected districts for which the Election Commission has called for extra security arrangements.

Following the blasts in Aurangabad yesterday that killed three CRPF personnel, the districts of Gaya and Aurangabad were busy defusing IEDs, still not sure about the numbers planted. The securitymen died while defusing landmines planted by Maoists in Aurangabad.

The Election Commission has asked 51,000 polling personnel to report for duty in the constituencies that vote on Thursday. “Once the 51,000 polling personnel report for duty, they will be dispatched to their locations tomorrow. We are ready for the first phase of elections,” additional chief electoral officer R. Lakshmanan told reporters.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar said the government would institute an inquiry by senior health officials into any lacunae in providing medicare to the victims.

On the final day of campaigning, RJD chief Lalu Prasad stayed put in Aurangabad from where former Governor of Kerala Nikhil Kumar, representing the Congress, is locked in a triangular contest. The humorous part of the show was when Lalu realised that the stage had been decorated with lotus flowers — the electoral symbol of the BJP. “Remove them. I dislike anything which is connected with the BJP,” he remarked angrily.

The star campaigner for the BJP, former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, spent time in Jamui to drum up support for Chirag Paswan — the son of the most valued catch of the BJP in the elections, LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan. Chirag is pitted against Assembly Speaker Uday Nararayan Choudhary. “The NDA family is getting larger and larger while the UPA is shrinking,” Sushil Modi quipped.

Nitish skipped campaigning on Tuesday. “Today was Ram Navami and generally people do not attend election meetings,” a JD(U) leader said.

The chief minister instead held a press meet to take on his political rivals — the BJP for “forgetting” Bihar in its election manifesto and Lalu, whom he accused of lying about special status to Bihar.

Narendra Modi will be in the state on Thursday to campaign in constituencies which go to polls in the second phase on April 17, inclu- ding Pataliputra.

Officers transferred

The Election Commission today transferred the district magistrates of Purnea, Supaul and Samastipur as well as the superintendents of police of Bhojpur and Darbhanga.

Purnea DM Manish Kumar Verma has been replaced by Sanjay Kumar Agrawal, Supaul DM Lakshmi Prasad Chauhan has been replaced by Adesh Titarmare, while Samastipur DM Navin Chandra Jha’s place has been given to Ajay Yadav.

Bhojpur SP Satyaveer Singh has been replaced by Kim and Darbhanga SSP Kumar Ekle has been replaced by Rajiv Mishra.


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