Ranchi, April 28: Dumka, which had recorded a commendable 69.76 voting percentage on April 24, witnessed low turnout at the two Shikaripara booths where repolling was held today after EVMs got damaged in last week’s Maoist ambush.
The average polling percentage of booth 100 at Prathamik Vidyalaya, Jamkandar, and booth 101 at Utkramit Madhya Vidyalaya, Asna, was a little over 25 per cent with most residents choosing to stay away, possibly out of fear of a Maoist backlash.
The figures were far more encouraging on April 24. Booth 100 registered 74 per cent polling and booth 101 a whopping 83 per cent with both places registering turnouts more than the overall polling percentage for Dumka constituency.
Today, it was different. “Booth 100 polled only 313 votes, while booth 101 at Utkramit Madhya Vidyalaya, Asna, saw only 121 voters. The figures are really disappointing compared to the number of voters listed for each booth. While booth 100 had 793 names on the electoral list, booth 101 boasted 855 voters,” said a local source.
This despite the district administration making tight security arrangements. Two companies of Sasharta Seema Bal and Jharkhand Jaguar were deputed at booth booths between 7am and 3pm.
Dumka DC Harsh Mangla said repoll was peaceful, but did not speculate on the reasons behind the surprisingly low turnout.
On April 24, Maoists targeted a two-vehicle convoy of a bus and van ferrying poll officials and security forces when they were returning after conducting the polls.
The attack, blamed on a strategic mistake as the poll personnel had boarded vehicles instead of walking to a nearby strongroom, claimed the lives of eight persons — five policemen, including some from Bihar, and three poll officials.
Eleven people were injured.