Patna: Maoists and the porous Indo-Nepal border are the two biggest challenges during the fifth phase of Lok Sabha polls in Bihar on May 7 and the Election Commission (EC) will seal the international border to tackle this.
"The Indo-Nepal border will be sealed on the morning of May 5, 48 hours prior to the start of voting and will remain so till the end of polling on May 7. The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) will enforce the sealing. Only emergency vehicles will be allowed across the border during this period," said Additional Chief Electoral Officer R Lakshmanan told PTI.
Seven parliamentary constituencies - Sheohar, Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur, Ujiarpur, Hajipur, Saran and Maharajganj - are going to polls in this phase.
Election officials said of these Lok Sabha seats, Sheohar, Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur and Hajipur have been affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE) in the recent years. The first two seats are located along the international Indo-Nepal border, which is a porous one.
"Border level coordination meeting have also been held with corresponding Nepal districts on the other side of the border. The officials of the neighbouring country are cooperating with us," said Lakshmanan.
Sources said Maoists and smugglers have been taking advantage of the porous border since long and sneaking in and out at will.
"We have also initiated the movement of security forces to the constituencies that are going to polls in the fifth phase. They will start area domination exercises from tomorrow. Two helicopters of the Indian Air Force will provide air support to our forces. An air ambulance will be kept on stand by in Patna," added Lakshmanan.
Meanwhile, the EC has slightly revised the voting percentage of the fourth phase of general elections in the state to 57.51 from 57.54 per cent. Seven constituencies - Madhubani, Jhanjharpur, Darbhanga, Madhepura, Samastipur (SC), Begusarai and Khagaria had gone to polls during this phase.
The EC has also ordered repoll at a polling station in Khajauli assembly segment of Jhanjharpur Lok Sabha constituency because the stipulated mock poll was not conducted by the election officials there before the beginning of voting. The repoll will be held tomorrow from 7am to 6pm.