Bihar voters defy Naxals, 55 percent turnout in second phase

An estimated 55 percent of the electorate cast their votes in 32 constituencies across six Maoist-affected districts of Bihar on Friday in the second phase of assembly elections which passed off peacefully.

Bihar voters defy Naxals, 55 percent turnout in second phase

Patna: An estimated 55 percent of the electorate cast their votes in 32 constituencies across six Maoist-affected districts of Bihar on Friday in the second phase of assembly elections which passed off peacefully.

Like the first phase on 12 October, Friday's polling also saw more women voters turning out than the menfolk.

Also ReadBihar Assembly Elections phase II: As it happened

Friday's polling figure is three percent higher than the 2010 assembly election in the state, Chief Electoral Officer Ajay V Nayak told reporters.

While the women voters' turnout was 57.5 percent, it was 52.5 for men, Nayak, who was accompanied by Additional Chief Electoral Officer R Lakshmanan, said.

The two officials said polling was more or less peaceful and there was no major untoward incident reported from anywhere. Only in Maoist-hit Gaya district, two IEDs were recovered by security personnel and defused.

Senior BJP leader and former minister Prem Kumar (Gaya town), former state BJP chief Gopal Narayan Singh (Nabinagar) and state minister Jay Kumar Singh (Dinara) are among those whose fate would be decided in this phase.

Nayak said the two bombs weighed 12 kg and 10 kg and both were defused successfully under Maigra police station of Imamganj constituency of Gaya district by CRPF personnel.

While Kaimur recorded a maximum of 57.86 percent voting, Aurangabad saw the lowest turnout of 52.5 percent.

A total of 456 candidates, 32 out of whom being women, are in the fray in this phase. Polling took place in 9,119 polling stations where security cover was provided by 993 companies (one company comprising of 100 personnel) of central paramilitary forces and the state police.

Rohtas recorded 54.66 per cent turnout, Arwal 53.21 percent, Jehanabad 56.49 percent and Gaya 55.54 percent, election office sources said.

Nayak and Lakshmanan said 34 people were arrested during polling from different areas and a MUV and a motorcycle were impounded.

A middle-aged voter and a CRPF personnel died of heart attacks in polling booths at Rafiganj and Imamganj.

Nayak said a 104-year-old woman exercised her franchise at booth number 205 at Bhabua in Kaimur district.

A cane bomb was found by the security personnel near a polling station located at Balar village in Kasma police station area under Rafiganj assembly constituency, Kasma police station SHO Sujit Kumar said.

The bomb was later found to be a dud and filled with sand, he said.

Meanwhile, former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, who is contesting from Imamganj constituency against Speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary, a JD(U) candidate and a five-term MLA from the seat, alleged that names of many scheduled caste voters have been removed from the voters' list.

After voting, Manjhi, who is also in the fray from Makhdumpur, claimed that NDA would emerge victorious and there was no question of his defeat.

Voting started at the scheduled hour at 7 am in all the 9119 polling stations and ended at 3 pm in 11 constituencies in the most sensitive Maoist areas. In 12 constituency areas polling ended at 4 pm and in the rest 9 seats at 5 pm.

The stakes are high for the anti-BJP alliance in this phase as 21 of the 32 seats had gone to the JD(U) and RJD in the last elections in 2010.

In NDA camp, half of the seats in this phase are being contested by BJP's allies - LJP (Lok Janshakti Party), HAM and RLSP (Rashtriya Lok Samata Party).

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