The fourth phase of polls for 42 Assembly seats in eight districts,including Naxal-hit Banka,Jamui,Munger and Lakhisarai,on Monday recorded 51 per cent voter turnout lesser than the previous three phases. While rain and chilly winds kept elderly voters inside homes in Bhagalpur,threat of Maoist rebels might well be responsible for the slightly lesser turnout in this phase.
Begusarai topped with polling percentage of 55 while Banka,where Lok Sabha by-poll was also conducted,recorded lowest 46 per cent. Naxal-hit Jamui and Lakhisarai recorded 48 per cent each whereas Munger polled 46.3 per cent. Khagaria averaged 53 per cent polling. Bhagalpur that saw rains in afternoon recorded 52 per cent polling.
Stray incidents of violence were reported at some places. Five anti-social elements were arrested in Danapur near Patna for exploding crude bombs to terrorise voters. Two women suffered minor injuries in the incident. Bihar DGP Neelmani said 285 preventive arrests were made during and before the polls.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and his wife and former CM Rabri Devi faced a case for violation of model code of conduct after they took along their securitymen inside a polling booth at Veterinary College in Patna,according to Chief Electoral Officer Sudhir Kumar Rakesh.
CM Nitish Kumar,who also cast his vote at Bakhtiyarpur,said: Laluji has been a habitual law-breaker and revels in breaking norms. JD-U,however,too,faced some blushes as its minister and Parbatta (Khagaria) MLA Ramanand Singh also faced a probe for allegedly taking his security guards to a polling booth.
Urban Patnas four seats,Digha,Bankipur,Kumhrar and Patna Sahib,averaged 52 per cent polling. There were,however,rampant discrepancies in voter lists with several names deleted. Additional Director General of Police (training) Abhyanand could not vote with his name missing from electoral roll.
Heavyweights in this phase were ministers Ashwini Kumar Choubey (Banka),Nandkishore Yadav (Patna Sahib),Damodar Raut (Jhajha) and Ramanand Singh (Parbatta),and Deputy Assembly Speaker Shakuni Choudhary (Tarapur),former Assembly Speaker Sadanand Singh (Kahalgaon),RJD-LJP deputy CM nominee Pashupati Kumar Paras (Alauli) and Subodh Roy (Sultanganj).