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Crowd overcomes skirmish with spirit

People in Jehanabad exercised their democratic right at polling booths on Thursday except a few incidents of firing, clash between two groups and poll boycott on the development issue.

The polling percentage improved this time with around 57.5 per cent voters exercised their rights. In the 2009 parliamentary elections, voting percentage was around 50.

According to reports, criminals opened fire in the air at Chhariyari village in Makhdumpur block in Jehanabad to terrorise the voters. At booth Nos. 288, 289 and 290 in Dariyapur Middle School in Atri block of Gaya district, supporters of a candidate stopped other voters to cast their vote. This led to stone pelting from either side. When security personnel tried to intervene, the group also clashed with the police. However, it did not affect voting.

Dariyapur is the village where a girl was killed in 1995 during firing in the air at a victory procession by supporters of Rajendra Yadav who had won Assembly election on the RJD ticket from Atri. At present, Rajendra is languishing in jail in connection with another murder case.

In another clash between two groups at booth No. 10 in village Kewadi in Khisersarai block in Gaya district (under Atri Assembly segment), a person suffered head injury.

There are also reports of poll boycott in Atri Assembly segment of Gaya district. People of Sonas village did not cast their vote on the issue of non-availability of road in their village. Sonas had hogged the headlines in November last year after five minor girls of a family were gunned down while asleep in their house. The case is still under investigation.

In Ghosi Assembly segment of Jehanabad district, voters boycotted polling after a clash. However, by then 32 per cent votes had already been cast by 12 noon. Similarly, voting was delayed for nearly two hours at Pachoi village in Khisersarai block. Voters were annoyed over shifting of the polling booth. Strongmen also beat up voters at Sikariya. At booth Nos. 273 and 274 in Atri, there was complaint about functioning of electronic voting machine (EVM). However, Gaya district magistrate-cum-district election officer Balamurugan D. visited the booth and then voting could resume.

In Jehanabad, there are total 14,14,337 voters — 7,50,661 male and 6,63,641 female besides 35 others — comprising Jehanabad town, Makhdumpur, Ghosi and Kurtha (Jehanabad district), Arwal (Arwal district) and Atri (Gaya district) Assembly segments. There are 15 candidates in fray including real estate tycoon JD(U)’s Anil Kumar Sharma, RLSP’s Arun Kumar and Surendra Prasad Yadav of the RJD.

Quote of first-time voter:

Atul Anand of Shashtrinagar in Jehanabad town in his 20s said: “I voted for the first time and it made me feel empowered. It gave me the feeling that I am responsible for bringing about change in our democracy. Since we are in a democratic country where power lies in common man, there is no reason why we should not vote. As an Indian citizen, I request all people that they should cast their valuable vote for betterment of our democracy. I haven’t got my elector’s photo identity card (EPIC) but used Aadhaar card as identity proof.”

Atul wants that whoever is elected, should work to set up a good college in Jehanabad. “There is no good college having job-oriented courses and therefore students have to go outside Jehanabad for higher studies. Besides, there is also need of a good hospital,” Atul said.akumar.teju@gmail.comnalinverma@gmail.comdipaktoister@gmail.comverma227@gmail.com