Fifty eight per cent voting was registered on Wednesday in seven Lok Sabha seats of Bihar in the fifth phase of elections in the state which also witnessed death of one person in police firing outside a booth.
Sheohar registered 55.5 per cent voting, Sitamarhi 54 per cent, Muzaffarpur 61.92 per cent, Maharajganj 53 per cent, Saran 56 per cent, Hajipur (SC reserved) 56 per cent and Ujiyarpur 56 per cent, the Election Office statement said.
Despite impressive turnout of voters in the morning, the percentage did not increase later in the day and voting on two high profile seats of Saran and Hajipur (SC, Reserved) saw 56 per cent polling each.
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While RJD president Lalu Prasad’s wife Rabri Devi is pitted against BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Saleem Parvez of JD(U) at Saran, LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan is in the fray from the Hajipur (SC) seat.
One person was killed in police firing outside a booth in Ramnagara village under Bathnaha police station area in Sitamarhi district during voting in the day, police said.
There were instances of unpleasant incidents from elsewhere too. In Saran, a bomb was found about 500 metres from a polling station in Marhaura which was defused.
There were reports of fracas between workers of RJD and BJP in Sonepur Assembly area which is part of Saran Lok Sabha constituency.
In Muzaffarpur, two low intensity bombs exploded in a field in Karathua village near a booth, police sources said.
Bypoll at Chiraia and Maharajganj Assembly seats witnessed 54 per cent and 55 per cent voting respectively, Election Office sources said.
There were some encouraging scenes during the day. In Hajipur, a 100-year-old man was brought on a charpoy to a polling station to vote.
In Samastipur, people were seen riding horses and on elephant back to cast their votes. People boycotted poll at three polling stations of Aurai (Muzaffarpur), Raghopur (Hajipur) and Ekma (Maharajganj) over development related issues. The EC would not hold repoll for
these polling stations.
Talking to reporters about the turnout of voters in the fifth phase of elections, Bihar’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ajay V Nayak said the polling percentage was likely to go up as final figures were yet to come.
The CEO expressed satisfaction at the overall smooth polling across seven parliamentary constituencies.
“We were apprehensive about this phase of elections because of Naxal-affected areas in a few constituencies. That is the reason we deployed three helicopters today. But, barring the death of a person at Bathnaha in Sitamarhi constituency, there have been no reports of anybody else getting injured in this phase,” Nayak said.
The CEO’s office received many complaints about disturbances in voting and is probing them to decide about the need for repoll.
“We received several complaints from all seven parliamentary constituencies. We examined them on an hourly basis and kept sending reports to the EC. Still, we will get to know the entire picture by tomorrow when we receive reports from the presiding officers of the polling stations. Micro Observers will also come with their detailed reports,” Nayak said.
Officials said so far only the polling station at Bathnaha in Sitamarhi, where a person was killed in police firing, has been earmarked for repoll and they were awaiting the EC’s final instruction in this regard.