Amid scattered violence, millions of Indian voters went to the polls today in the second phase of staggered parliamentary elections that are expected to endorse Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's quest for a mandate to continue the political dynasty he inherited from his assassinated mother, Indira Gandhi.
Election commission officials reported a 45 percent turnout in the 116 election districts spread out over six states that held balloting today for seats to the Lok Sabha, or governing house of Parliament.
Balloting began Monday in 16 states and six union territories in the first stage of the election, and will end Friday in districts in the far northeastern states of Nagaland and Meghalaya.
Counting of the ballots in all states but Nagaland and Meghalaya will begin Friday morning, with initial results expected that night and conclusive results due Saturday.
The most crucial election today was in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, where Gandhi's ruling Congress (I) Party holds 37 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats but is facing a strong challenge from the regional Telegu Desam party headed by the state's chief minister, former screen idol N.T. Rama Rao.
Authorities reported isolated instances of election violence today, including one person who was killed when police opened fire to disperse clashing party workers near a voting booth in Venkata-Puram village in Andhra Pradesh.
Five persons were killed in election-related fights in rural districts of the state, according to reports reaching the state capital of Hyderabad, Indian news agencies reported. India Arrests Kin Of Slain Sikh Leader Associated Press
NEW DELHI, Dec. 27 -- The nephew of slain Sikh militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was brought back to India today after being denied entry into four countries. He was charged with sedition and inciting communal discord.
Immediately after he was brought back from Manila, Jasbir Singh, 22, was arrested and interrogated about the Oct. 31 assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the United News of India news agency reported.