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Thursday, 14 February, 2002, 18:22 GMT
Scattered violence in Indian polls
Women voters queue up at a polling station in Uttar Pradesh
Rural voters turned out in large numbers than in cities
Sporadic incidents of violence marked the first day of voting in three Indian states which are choosing new governments.

Election officials said minor incidents were reported from some parts of Uttar Pradesh and Manipur but the day passed off peacefully in the state of Uttaranchal.

They said Manipur recorded the highest voter turnout at 80% while 50-60% of the voters cast their ballot in the other two states.

Voting has ended in Uttaranchal but there will be another round in Manipur and two more in the most populous state of Uttar Pradesh.

(Click here to see map)

Voting in the northern state of Punjab was held on Wednesday.

Elections in the four states are being widely seen as a test of popularity for the national coalition headed by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Hiccups

Electronic voting machines were used in most of the polling stations in an effort to check malpractices and to speed up the voting process.

A woman carries her mother to a polling station near Imphal
Voter turnout was high in Manipur

But voting was briefly disrupted in some areas due to technical faults in machines.

Clashes between supporters of rival political parties in Uttar Pradesh also affected polling in some areas of the state.

In the north eastern state of Manipur, two border guards were killed by suspected rebels during the day.

Police said a convoy of the Border Security Force soldiers, who were on election duty, was ambushed by the rebels.

Some candidates also complained of malpractices by rivals which were being investigated by the election officials.

Votes will be counted on 24 February.

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See also:

12 Feb 02 | South Asia
Indian states gear up for polls
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