Poll panel warns against influencing vote counting in Bihar
Patna: The Bihar state election commission has warned ministers, legislators and MPs not to influence the ongoing counting of votes in the panchayat (local bodies) polls, officials said on Saturday.
The warning has come after reported complaints of attempts to influence the counting at several places.
"Cases will be filed against them and speedy trials would be conducted to punish them," a poll panel official said.
The commission has directed the district magistrates to ensure free and fair counting of votes, he added.
The 10-phase panchayat polls began on April 20 and will end on May 28 with a total of 262,000 panchayat members elected.
Unlike in the past, the elections passed off peacefully except for a few violent incidents.
A woman candidate was raped and killed near Patna on Saturday.
The first round saw a police officer and a woman voter being killed in a rebel attack in Jamui. Similarly, one death was reported in the second and eighth rounds each.
One polling official was killed while two were injured in a landmine blast triggered by the rebels in Jamui district during the ninth round of the panchayat polls.
The rebels also kidnapped seven officials, who were later released.
Over four lakh "troublemakers and habitual offenders" had signed undertakings promising not to disrupt the polls, police said.
Last month, the state election commission had made it clear that if a candidate is attacked or intimidated during polls, his rival would be named in the police report.
The Maoists had issued a poll boycott call and threatened to disrupt the elections.
Elections in Bihar were once known for violence and booth capturing.
In the 1999 Lok Sabha elections, 74 people were killed in poll-related violence. At least 20 people were killed in the 2004 general elections and 158 during the 2001 panchayat elections.
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