An estimated 60 per cent of over 1.55 crore voters cast their ballots in 57 assembly seats that went to poll in the fifth and final phase in Bihar today, the highest in the current election. The polling passed off peacefully barring an incident of police firing in which nobody was hurt.
Bihar’s Chief Electoral Officer Ajay V Nayak said while today’s 60 per cent voter turnout was the highest in the current elections, the overall polling percentage in five phases was recorded at 56.8 per cent, much more than 52.65 per cent registered in 2010 assembly polls when JD(U) and BJP had together won 206 seats out of a total of 243 as part of NDA.
Like in previous four phases, women voters outnumbered men. 63.60 per cent of the women electorate cast their votes, against 56.05 per cent men.
Nayak said Katihar district recorded the highest 67.27 per cent voting, while Saharsa registered the lowest at 50.78 per cent.
Madhubani recorded 55.87 per cent voting, Supual 58.60, Araria, Kisanganj 64.39, Purnea 62.95, Katihar 67.27, Madhepura 57.84, Saharsa 50.78 and Darbhanga 58.27.
Police fired in air to scare away a group of people trying to obstruct voting at booth number 65 of Jokihat constituency in Araria district. Polling was disrupted for some time but resumed later.
An estimated 57 per cent voters had exercised their franchise in the first phase, while 55.45 per cent voted in the second, 53.74 per cent in the third and 58.54 per cent in the fourth.
Counting of votes will take place on November 8.
Nayak said 59 persons were arrested for causing disturbances during the polling. Nine motorcycles, four and multiutility vehicles were also seized.
People boycotted voting at two booths, one each in Madhubani and Katihar on development issue.
A CRPF jawan Ranglal Meena died of heart attack while on duty at polling station number 49 of Jhanjharpur constituency of Madhubani district.
Bindeshwar Sah, a polling officer at booth number 34 at Hawi Bauwar village under Benipur constituency in Darbhanga district suffered a hearth attack and died in hospital.
827 candidates including senior ministers Bijendra Prasad Yadav (Supual), Narendra Narayan Yadav (Alamnagar), RJD Legislature Party leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui (Alinagar), Lalu Prasad’s ‘Man Friday’ Bhola Yadav (Bahadurpur), and BJP candidate and former minister Nitish Mishra (Jhanjharpur) were in the fray in the fifth phase.
Today’s polling covered 24 seats in Seemanchal which has substantial Muslim presence. AIMIM of Hyderabad MP Asauddin Owaisi is contesting six seats in this belt to test poll waters in Bihar for the first time.
Janadhikar party of Madhepura MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav fielded 46 candidates in the fifth phase and their doing well may put into jeopardy the grand alliance’s attempt to retain Bihar.
For NDA, BJP fielded the maximum of 38 candidates, while LJP nominees contested 11 seats, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party of Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha five and Hindustani Awam Morcha of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi three.
JD(U) candidates tried their luck in 25 seats, RJD in 20 and Congress 12.