Nearly 50% cast votes in fifth phase of Bihar polls

Defying a poll boycott call, 49.84% cast their votes in the fifth phase of Bihar Assembly elections.

Patna: Defying a poll boycott call, an
estimated 49.84 per cent voters exercised their franchise
on Wednesday in 35 assembly constituencies in the fifth phase of
Bihar assembly elections amid stray incidents of violence.

Of the 17 Maoist-hit constituencies, Rajauli recorded
47 per cent voting, Gobindpur 45, Arwal 43, Kurtha 41,
Jehanabad 45, Ghosi 54.3, Makhdumpur 51, Bodh Gaya 51,
Phulwari 52.28, Masaurhi 53.04, Paliganj 50.28, Atri 47,
Bikram 52.15, Islampur 50, Hilsa 50.4, Belaganj 49 and
Wazirganj 49 per cent, Additional Chief Electoral Officer
Kumar Anshumali.
Prominent candidates whose fates were sealed in EVMs
were JD-U ministers Hari Narain Singh (Harnaut), Jitan Ram
Manjhi (Makhdumpur), Bhagwan Singh Kushwaha (Jagdishpur) and
BJP minister Prem Kumar (Gaya town).

Others were 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).

The exercise was, by and large, peaceful, DGP Neelmani

A man identified as Subhash Sharma was shot dead by
unidentified assailants about 500 metre away from booth no 124
at the Kurtha assembly seat in Arwal district, but the DGP
said that it was not related to the elections.

Altogether 292 persons were detained and around 125
vehicles including 86 motorcycles, seized Neelmani said.

Official sources said LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan`s
son-in-law and party nominee Mrinal Paswan was detained
together with seven supporters for creating disturbance in a
constituency in Rajgir.

NCP nominee for Jagdishpur Manoj Kumar Rai, was
arrested with Rs 21,000 in cash in his possession in Bhojpur
district, while former RJD minister Adiyta Singh was arrested
for electoral irregularities at a booth in Nawada, the sources

Four persons were detained and Rs 1.55 lakh in cash
was seized from their vehicle in Phulwari constituency where
JD(U) nominee Shyam Razak locked horns with RJD`s Uday Manjhi.

Supporters of two rival JD(U) and RJD clashed in
Biharsharief town. No casualty was reported.

An unexploded landmine was seized from under a bridge
at Baragaon under Masaurhi assembly constituency in Patna
district, the sources said.
A person was arrested and five country-made pistols
were seized from his possession at Arwal.

Five members of a patrol, including a magistrate, were
injured when their jeep overturned in Arwal Assembly

A presiding officer suffered cardiac arrest in booth
166 in Biharsharief constituency and was admitted to hospital,
the sources said.

Initially, defects in EVMs were reported at a couple
of booths in constituencies in Ara, Atri, Arwal, Nawada,
Biharsharief, Harnaut, Belaganj and Shekhpur, but they were
promptly attended to or replaced, the sources said.

Poll boycott was reported at some polling stations in
Sheikhpura, Biharsharief, Arwal, Ara, Nalanda, Bodh Gaya and
Rajgir to protest the state government`s alleged apathy
towards their problems, they said.

Voters held protests in Gaya, Shekhpur and Ara
following deletion of their names from the voter`s lists.

Special Task Force commandos and senior police
officials were involved in aerial surveillance using four
helicopters during polling.

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

Over 40,000 polling personnel were engaged in the
electoral exercise, Chief Electoral Officer S K Rakesh said.

Polling at several booths was webcast by BSNL.

The Bihar polls are being held in six phases. There
are 81.26 lakh voters in the state. The final phase of
elections will be held on November 20.