Polling peaceful in Bihar; 53% voter turn-out

Polling peaceful in Bihar; 53% voter turn-out

Patna: Barring stray incidents, polling passed off peacefully in 48 constituencies figuring in the third phase of Bihar assembly polls, which saw an estimated 53% voter turnout.

Five Maoist-hit constituencies - Amnour, Taraya, Ramnagar, Balmikinagar and Patepur - recorded 45% to 52% polling.

Voters were ferried by boats in the riverine areas of Raghopur assembly constituency in Vaishali district where former chief minister Rabri Devi is in the fray. The wife of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad is also contesting from Sonepur seat in Saran district.

Over 185 persons were detained during the polling, which witnessed minor incidents of clash and scuffle. “Otherwise, it was peaceful and smooth," director general of police Neelmani said. Around 60 vehicles were also seized.

Borders with Nepal and Uttar Pradesh were sealed and DIG and commissioner of Saran division along with special task force commandos kept surveillance from the air, Neelmani said.

Constable Pramod Pandey was detained from a booth in an inebriated state in Gopalganj town, he said.

BJP and RJD workers clashed at two booths in Raxaul assembly constituency in East Champaran district, but none was injured, official sources said.

A scuffle broke out between supporters of rival candidates at a booth at Madhavpur in Lalganj Assembly constituency in Vaishali district, they said.

An independent candidate Awdhesh Singh was arrested with Rs15,000 in cash for allegedly influencing voters in Amnour constituency in Saran district, they said.

A presiding officer was arrested from a booth in Gopalganj constituency for committing electoral irregularities, they said.

An old woman too died at a booth at Badhara in Siwan district, they said. The car of state BJP minister Renu Devi was seized in Bettiah town.

Defects in EVMs were reported from a few polling centres in Balmikingar, Bagha, Bettiah, Siwan, Vaishali and Gopalganj constituencies, but they were rectified.

Voters boycotted polling at four booths - two in Bettiah constituency and one each in Bhore and Raxaul.

Polling in the Naxal-hit constituencies of Ramnagar, Balmikingar and Patepur concluded at 3 pm, while voting in the other two Maoist-infested constituencies Amnour and Taraiya was over at 4 pm.

Over one crore electorate will decide the fortune of six state ministers in today’s phase.