Bihar I phase poll ends peacefully, 53% turnout
Patna/New Delhi: Fifty-four percent polling was recorded Thursday in the first phase of Bihar`s staggered assembly elections that passed off peacefully barring "minor clashes", officials said.
The elections were held in 47 constituencies spread across eight districts. Around 10 million people were eligible to exercise their franchise in the first round held in the Kosi-Seemanchal and Mithilanchal belts.
The Election Commission said the total percentage may increase. "By and large the elections were held peacefully. It was an incident-free elections," Vinod Zutshi, deputy election commissioner told reporters in New Delhi.
The balloting began at 7 a.m. and was conducted peacefully. The voting, to pick a new 243-seat legislature ends next month, ended 5 p.m. The results will be out Nov 24.
Additional Director General of Police P.K. Thakur told IANS in Patna that the election passed off peacefully except for "minor clashes". "There were no reports of violence, casualty or big trouble during the polls. It passed off peacefully," Thakur said.
He said more than 100 troublemakers were arrested.
Stray incidents of clashes were reported between rival groups. At some places, the electronic voting machines malfunctioned. Apart from that, it was a smooth exercise in a state notorious for election violence.
Long queues of men and women were seen outside many polling centres.
"Ten incidents of poll boycott were reported from several booths in Madhubani, Madhepura, Saharsa, Kishanganj and Purnia," said Zutshi. The reason for poll boycott in these constituencies was lack of development.
Up to 18-20 percent voted in the first five hours. Balloting picked up rapidly after that.
The eight districts which went to the polls are Kishanganj, Araria, Purnia, Madhepura, Saharsa, Katihar, Supaul and Madhubani.
Reports reaching here said that voters in over a dozen villages in Madhepura boycotted polls and shouted slogans against the lack of development. "We boycotted polls over the lack of roads in our village," Suresh Rai, a villager in Madhepura said.
Mansoor Alam, another angry man who boycotted polls, said that villagers decided not to vote as there was no electricity.
Interestingly, the main poll issue this election is development. All political parties have been wooing voters by promising development.
There were 635 candidates in the first round. Most constituencies fell in the rural areas. There were 10,868 balloting centres.
The ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has 37 of the 47 seats. At stake is not just the future of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, but also the political reputations of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan.
The Congress, which is fighting all seats on its own, will also be looking to break in.
The leaders also played the minority card with a sizeable Muslim population in Seemanchal, which includes Kishanganj, Araria, Purnia and Katihar districts.
In the Kosi belt, the JD-U hopes lie with votes of the extreme backward castes (EBCs) to counter the caste factor in the Yadav and Paswan strongholds. The Congress, which is fighting all 243 seats on its own, is fielding an EBC candidate to tackle the JD-U and a Yadav to counter the RJD.
In the Mithilanchal belt, upper caste votes could be split between the Congress and the BJP.
The heavyweights in the fray in this phase include state Congress president Mahboob Ali Qaiser as well as four ministers - Bijendra Prasad Yadav, Renu Kumari, Narendra Narain Yadav and Hari Prasad Shah.
JD-U leader Shivanand Tiwari claimed after polling had ended that the JD-U-BJP alliance will increase its tally. "We are sure to do better than last polls," Tiwari said.
However, RJD leader Shakil Ahmad Khan said the RJD-LJP combine would surprise everyone. "We are confident to make a big gain," he said.
The next rounds of polling will be held Oct 24 and 28, and Nov 1, 9 and 20.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- IAF Mirage fighter plane lands on Yamuna Expressway!
- 'Maggi' under regulatory scanner for excess amount of lead, MSG
- Watch: Michelle Obama's 'Gimme Five' fitness video
- When Subramanian Swamy shocked people at a wedding!
- Mumbaikars join hands to save Pakistani teen with rare illness
- DNA: Analysis of Hurriyat chief Syed Geelani's passport issue
- DNA: Analysis of traffic system of Vancouver, Canada
- Mumbai: Diamond export company denies job to Muslim youth
- Aapke Sitare: Astro prediction for May 21, 2015
- Mirage 2000 fighter jet landing was part of capability demonstration: IAF
- DNA: IAF Mirage 2000 fighter plane lands successfully on Yamuna expressway
- DNA: Osama documents show 'Indian brother in Madinah' financed al Qaeda
- PM Modi speaks at Golden Jubilee celebrations of poet Dinkar’s works
- PM Modi's key campaign team member may join Nitish Kumar
- Woman robbed at gunpoint inside Hyderabad ATM
- RBSE (rajresults.nic.in) Class 12th science and commerce results 2015: Rajasthan Board Class 12th XII exam results 2015 expected to be announced on May 21
- RBSE (rajresults.nic.in) Class 12th science and commerce results 2015: Rajasthan Board Class 12th XII exam results 2015 to be announced today at 4 PM
- CBSE Class 10 Results 2015 to be announced today?
- JAC 12th Inter Arts Result 2015: JAC 12th Inter Arts Result 2015 (jharkhandeducation.net) likely to be announced on Thursday May 21 at 1 PM
- IAF jet lands on Yamuna expressway
- Check Jharkhand Board jac.nic.in: Class 12th Art Results 2015 declared
- Log on to apeamcet.org AP EAMCET Results 2015: Andhra Pradesh EAMCET Marks and AP EAMCET Ranks 2015 declared
- Andhra Pradesh EAMCET results 2015: Andhra Pradesh EAMCET results to be announced on May 21 at www.apeamcet.org
- Fawad Khan doesn’t want intimate scenes with Sonam Kapoor?
- We hire only non-Muslim candidates, diamond export firm tells Muslim youth
- Is MSG in 'Maggi' noodles harmful for you?
- DHSE (dhsekerala.gov.in) 12th Result 2015: Kerala DHSE Class 12th XII exam results 2015 to be announced on May 21
- Mumbai firm booked for denying Muslim MBA graduate job on religious grounds, probe ordered
- SSLC (tnresults.nic.in) Tenth 10th Results 2015: Tamil Nadu Board Class 10th X Higher Secondary exam results 2015 to be declared on May 21
- 'IAS officer DK Ravi possibly committed suicide, suffered big loss in real estate business'