53% vote,women in huge numbershttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/53-vote-women-in-huge-numbers/

53% vote,women in huge numbers

Women stole the show in the third phase of elections held in six districts of Bihar.

Women stole the show in the third phase of elections held on Thursday in six districts of Bihar — East Champaran,West Champaran,Gopalganj,Siwan,Saran and Vaishali.

The third phase,in which former CM Rabri Devi’s fate was sealed,saw an average turnout of 53.65 per cent,almost similar to the first two phases.

The highlight of the elections were women voters,who turned up in large numbers at polling booths,riding tongas and crossing rivers through boats at some places. In the past elections,turnout of women seldom went beyond 30 per cent.

“The third phase witnessed polling of about 53.65 per cent. This is more than the last Assembly elections when this region witnessed 47.36 per cent polling,” Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi said in New Delhi.

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While East Champaran topped with 58 per cent voter turnout,Gopalganj was at the bottom with an average 48 per cent polling. West Champaran,Siwan and Vaishali polled 56,52 and 54 per cent votes,respectively. Saran,represented by RJD chief Lalu Prasad in Lok Sabha,saw a turnout of 50 per cent.

Siwan,otherwise synonymous with lawlessness just five years ago,surprised with heavy turnout of women voters. A 68-year-old voter,Kusum Devi,died of heart attack soon after casting her vote at Barhariya in Siwan.

Naxal-hit constituencies Amnour and Taraiya (Chapra),Ramnagar and Valmikinagar (West Champaran) and Patepur (Vaishali) recorded 45 per cent to 52 per cent polling despite a boycott call.

Bihar DGP Neelmani said 221 preventive arrests were made. An EVM was destroyed in Lalganj where JD-U leader Munna Shukla’s wife Annu Shukla is in fray to retain her husband’s political turf after his conviction.

Former CM Rabri Devi,facing an acid test from two seats — Raghopur (Vaishali) and Sonepur (Saran) — has some reasons to worry with heavy turnout of voters at both places.

In Raghopur,an anti-incumbency mood might favour her but at the same time,EBC and Scheduled Caste voters’ obvious inclination towards Nitish Kumar might worry the RJD camp.

Other heavyweights whose electoral fates are sealed include ministers Brishen Patel (JD-U) in Vaishali,Renu Devi (BJP) in Bettiah and Vyasdev Prasad (BJP) in Siwan. Former ministers and senior BJP leaders Chandramohan Roy (Chanpatia) and Janardhan Singh Singriwal (Chapra) are the other heavyweights.

A total of 785 candidates,including 65 women,were in fray in this phase.

The police said there were some minor disturbances in the polling process. An independent candidate,Awadhesh Singh,was arrested with Rs 15,000 in cash for allegedly trying to influence voters in Amnour (Saran) district.