As electors in 94 constituencies of Bihar exercised their franchise in the second phase of voting on Tuesday, polling of over 54 per cent was recorded. According to the Election Commissions, the voting percentage at 10:30 pm was 54.64, marginally lower than the 2015 figure, as COVID-19 failed to dampen the democratic spirit of citizens.
The second phase, which will decide the electoral fate of RJD leader and Mahagathbandhan’s chief ministerial face Tejashwi Yadav, and more than 1,450 other candidates, saw prominent personalities, including Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi, Tejashwi Yadav, and LJP president Chirag Paswan cast their votes in their respective polling booths in the morning.
After casting his vote at a polling booth in Patna’s Rajendra Nagar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi appealed to people to step out of their homes, cast votes, maintain social distancing and wear masks. Meanwhile, former Bihar CM Rabri Devi asserted the need for change and development in the state.
Among the 17 districts where these 94 seats are located, the highest poll percentage of 54.89 has been recorded in Muzaffarpur, till 5 pm. The lowest turnout of 39.65 per cent has been reported from Patna district. Its Kumhrar, an urban constituency, has recorded just 27.91 per cent voting.
Vaishali district’s Raghopur, from where Tejashwi Yadav is contesting, has recorded 54 per cent polling, as per the EC data. Hasanpur, from where Lalu Prasad’s elder son Tej Pratap Yadav is in the fray, has recorded an estimated 54.25 per cent votes till 5 pm.
Even though no untoward incidents were reported through out the day, the time for concluding the polling was extended by one hour till 6 pm to facilitate COVID-19 patients and those with symptoms of the disease to exercise their franchise during the final hour. The election process was largely, peaceful.
Meanwhile, an SSB jawan was killed after he was run over by an unidentified vehicle while on his way to attend election duty in Bihar’s East Champaran district, police said. The incident took place near Dumra Chowk in Kotwa police station area on Monday night, when 34-year-old Sashastra Seema Bal jawan Shailesh Kumar Singh was going to a polling booth in Kalyanpur constituency in East Champaran district on his motorcycle, a police officer said.
Campaigning for the third phase of polling, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today alleged that the BJP-JD(U) government “looted” Bihar, and claimed that people have decided to vote them out of power. Addressing a poll rally, the former Congress president criticised the NDA government over demonetisation, migrant crisis, GST, handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the three new farm laws.
He said neither Modi nor Kumar did anything to help migrant labourers when they were walking thousands of kilometres to return homes during the coronavirus lockdown. “The Congress had arranged buses for the movement of migrant workers. We are not in power so we could not do it for millions, but we helped as many people as we could,” he said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi mocked the Congress for its shrinking numbers in the two Houses of Parliament, claiming people were punishing the party for its false promises of poverty eradication and farm loan waiver.
Mounting an assault on the RJD-Congress alliance in Bihar on the last day of his campaign, Modi repeatedly reminded the people of the ‘Jungle Raj’ under Lalu Yadav, when rampant booth capturing robbed the poor of their right to vote. Under Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, he asserted, the state had left behind the “darkness of insecurity and anarchy”. Modi said the Congress’ “false promises” of poverty eradication, farm loan waiver and one rank-one pension for retired servicemen had left people angry.
On the other hand, onions were flung towards Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar by some protestors while he was addressing a public meeting in Madhubani for the third phase of the assembly elections. Kumar was talking on the issue of employment when onions came flying at him at the rally in support of his party nominee Sudhanshu Shekhar at Gangaur village ground in Harlakhi assembly constituency, but it missed the target.
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