Nearly a quarter vote in Bihar
Nearly a quarter of the electorate voted in the first five hours in Bihar Wednesday as balloting continued† peacefully for seven Lok Sabha seats in the state, an official said.
By-polls for two assembly seats are also being held in the state.
As many as 118 candidates are in the fray for the Lok Sabha seats of Sheohar, Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur, Maharajganj, Saran, Hajipur and Ujiarpur. Also, 20 candidates are in contention in the by-polls for two assembly seats - Chiraia and Maharajganj.
Additional Chief Electoral Officer R. Lakhshaman said over 27 percent of the electorate voted by noon.
The voting is underway peacefully despite apprehension of violence. "So far polls are peaceful with no report of violence," he said.
Lakhshaman said long queues were seen despite scorching heat. Voters could be seen in some places even before the balloting started at 7 a.m., he added.
"It is a good sign as large number of enthusiastic people have come out of their homes to cast their votes, particularly in rural areas. The polling will pick up," he said.
Rashtriya Janata Dal candidate and former chief minister Rabri Devi is fighting against Bharatiya Janata Party's Rajiv Pratap Rudy in Saran constituency.
In Hajipur, incumbent MP and Janata Dal-United candidate Ram Sundar Das is locked in a battle against Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan.
Over 10 million electors are eligible to vote at 10,151 polling booths. A total 66,211 officials have been deployed to conduct the poll.