| GEO World|
| Naxal violence in Phase II of Lok Sabha polls|
| Updated at: 2106 PST, Thursday, April 23, 2009|
NEW DELHI: Maoists struck with impunity triggering landmines and indiscriminate firing in Jharkhand as polling for the second phase of elections to Lok Sabha got underway on Thursday, even as moderate to brisk polling was reported from across 12 States.
Two poll officials were injured when the ultras exploded a bomb striking an official vehicle in Jharkhand's Giridh District, 190 km from the capital Ranchi, while Left-wing extremists triggered bombs and a landmine in East and West Singhbhum districts.
Another report quoting police sources said heavy firing between Maoists and security forces were reported at Basadera under Ghatsila police station bordering West Bengal.
Voting began on moderate to brisk note in 140 constituencies spread across 12 States in the second round of the five-phase Lok Sabha elections.
While Orissa registered 12 per cent of voting in the initial hours, Assam saw 20 per cent of turn out. Election to Andhra Pradesh and Orissa state Assemblies are being held simultaneously today.
Over 19 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise across 2 lakh polling stations set up by the Indian Election Commission.
Tight security arrangements have been put in place, especially in naxal-infested states, to thwart any attempt by the ultras to disrupt the elections.
Around 12 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise in the first two hours of polling in Andhra Pradesh, where elections to the State Assembly are also being held along with the Lok Sabha polls.
Around 10 per cent of the electorate cast their ballot in the second phase of polling in 17 Lok Sabha constituencies in Karnataka, while 35 per cent votes were polled in the first six hours in Tripura.
Prominent among those whose fate will be decided today are Congress leader Rahul Gandhi from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, NCP chief Sharad Pawar from Madha in Maharashtra, rebel JD (U) leader George Fernandes from Bihar's Muzaffarpur, BJP's Sushma Swaraj from Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh and LJP leader Ramvilas Paswan from Hajipur in Bihar.