Today, Voters queued up at polling booths in Bihar hours before the start of the third phase of assembly election and exercised their franchise in huge numbers.
More than 9% polling was reported in the first two hours from most of the fifty constituencies where polling is under way in the crucial third phase of assembly elections in Bihar.
As per the Election Commission bulletin, the figures for the six districts voting till 9am on Wednesday were: Patna (7.41%), Vaishali(13.32%), Saran(10.29%), Nalanda(8.80%), Buxar(9.41%) and Bhojpur(6.61%).
Polling is peaceful in the state as we have not received information of any untoward information so far,” additional chief electoral officer (ACEO) R Lakshmanan said.
However, there were reports of EVM malfunctioning at few places in the Assembly constituencies of Digha, Masaurhi, Mahnar, Buxar where polling began nearly an hour later.
Prominent political personalities who cast their vote in the first two hours of voting included RJD chief Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi and son Tejaswi Yadav, former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi and others.
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s traditional hold over ‘urban’ pockets, chief minister Nitish Kumar’s popularity on home turf Nalanda and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad’s political clout will be put to test in the third phase.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the people of the state to cast their votes in large numbers.
“Today is the third phase of the Bihar Assembly elections and I would like to urge the electorate to cast their votes in large numbers,” the Prime Minister tweeted.
Analysts say chief minister Nitish Kumar is facing his first major challenge in 25 years in the district’s seven assembly seats. In the 2010 assembly polls, Kumar’s Janata Dal(United) bagged six of these seats while BJP, now his rival, won the Rajgir reserved seat.
Voting in these 50 seats would also be keenly watched across the country as it would witness the battle of ballots in Mahua and Raghopur from where the two sons of the RJD chief are in the fray. This round of polling also covers Prasad’s political turf Saran, which has 10 assembly segments, the Lok Sabha seat he had represented thrice.
Besides Prasad’s sons, the third phase will also decide the fate of Brishen Patel, Nand Kishore Yadav, Shrawan Kumar, Harinarayan Singh, Shyam Rajak and Chandrika Rai – all former ministers – deputy chairman of the state assembly Amarendra Pratap Singh, former union minister Akhilesh Prasad Singh, rebel JD(U) leaders Gyanendra Singh Gyanoo and Anant Singh, and Vivek Thakur, son of BJP leader CP Thakur.
A total of 808 candidates are in fray for 50 assembly seats across a total 14,170 polling stations of which 6,747 have been declared as critical and 1,909 as left-wing extremist hit polling stations.
More than 1,000 companies of Central para military forces and state police have been deployed on the day to ensure peaceful voting. While 50 mounted police force would be used in general areas, 47 motor boats would be used for patrolling the riverine areas.