Bihar gears up for fifth phase of Assembly polls

Thirty five constituencies in eight districts to fifth phase of the Assembly elections.

Patna: Thirty five constituencies in eight districts will go to the fifth and penultimate phase of the Assembly elections in Bihar on Tuesday even as Maoists have given a poll boycott call.

Polling will be held between 7 am and 4 pm in the Maoist-hit constituencies of Rajauli, Gobindpur, Arwal, Kurtha, Jehanabad, Ghosi, Makhdumpur, Bodh Gaya, Phulwari,
Masaurhi, Paliganj, Agiaon, Atri, Bikram, Barbigha and Belaganj.

Around 81.26 lakh voters will decide the fate of 490 candidates, including 44 women.

Prominent candidates are state JD(U) ministers Hari Narain Singh (Harnaut), Jitan Ram Manjhi (Makhdumpur), Bhagwan Singh Kushwaha (Jagdishpur) and BJP minister Prem Kumar (Gaya town).

JD(U) chief whip in the Assembly Shravan Kumar (Nalanda), party MLAs Asha Devi (Barhara), Sunil Kumar (Biharsharif), Shyam Rajak (Phulwari), Narendra Kumar Pandey
(Tarari), senior BJP leaders Sayadeo Narain Arya (Rajgir), and Amrendra Pratap Singh (Ara) are also in the fray.

Besides, there are LJP`s Dularchand Yadav from Arwal, former RJD ministers Surendra Prasad Yadav (Belaganj), Raghvendra Pratap Singh (Barhara), Suresh Paswan (Agiwan) and Rajballabh Prasad (Nawada).

Director General of Police Neelmani said, "Central para-military forces and armed police personnel have been deployed at all naxalite-hit polling stations."

The DGP said borders with Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh have been sealed.

Special Task Force (STF) commandos and senior police officials would keep air surveillance by the help of four helicopters.

Ninety percent of the booths will be manned by central paramilitary forces and the rest by armed police personnel.

The police would also use phone line tracking and Google Earth to keep a watch on the movement of Maoists in forests and hills, Neelmani said.

Satellite phones have been provided to policemen in Naxal-affected areas, he said.

Over 40,000 polling personnel would be engaged in the electoral exercise, Chief Electoral Officer SK Rakesh said. Polling at several booths would be webcast by BSNL.


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