Patna: Polling began on Thursday for the first phase of the elections to 47 of the 243 Assembly constituecies in Bihar amid unprecedented security measures.
Around 1.07 crore voters, including 50.2 lakh women and 3,829 service voters, are eligible to exercise their franchise at 10,454 polling centres in the state.
Prominent among the 631 contestants are senior Janata Dal (United) ministers Vijendra Prasad Yadav, Narendra Narain Yadav, Renu Kumari, Hari Prasad Sah, Congress nominee Ranjeet Ranjan (wife of former member of Parliament Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav), state Congress chief Choudhary Mehboob Ali Kaiser and Lovely Anand (wife of former member of Parliament Anand Mohan).
The borders with Madhubani, Supaul, Kishanganj and Araria districts have been sealed and checking introduced to prevent entry of trouble-makers, Bihar director general of police Neelmani said.
He said specially-trained dogs have been deployed on the India-Nepal border.
While 85% of booths are being manned by Central paramilitary forces and armed police from other states, the remaining are being guarded by the Bihar Military Police, the police chief said.
State chief electoral officer S.K. Rakesh said for the first time, the Election Commission has introduced live webcast at 20% of the booths while the entire process will be videographed.
The seats are spread over Saharsa, Madhepura, Madhubani, Supaul, Purnia, Araria, Katihar and Kishanganj districts.