58 percent vote in Bihar

Last Updated 30 April 2014, 15:40 IST

About 57.74 percent electors cast their ballots in Bihar Wednesday, even as many villagers boycotted the Lok Sabha election over power shortage and deficient infrastructure.

Voting took place for Madhepura, Jhanjharpur, Madhubani, Darbhanga, Samastipur, Begusarai and Khagaria seats. A bypoll was also held for the Sahebpur Kamal assembly seat.

Additional Chief Electoral Officer R. Lakshmanan said 57.74 percent voters exercised their franchise. "The polling passed off peacefully with no report of violence," he said.

Long queues of people, including women and youth and first-time voters, were seen at polling booths since morning.

Meanwhile, Krishna Paswan, independent candidate from Darbhanga, was arrested on charges of luring voters.

At several places in Begusarai, Samastipur and Khagaria, villagers boycotted the polls saying they will not vote if there are no roads and no electricity.

As many as 94 candidates were in the fray. Prominent among them are Sharad Yadav and Pappu Yadav from Madhepura, Hukum Deo Narain Yadav from Madhubani, and Ali Ashraf Fatmi and Kirti Azad from Darbhanga.

More than 11 million people were eligible to vote at 10,157 polling booths. A total of 58,215 poll officials were deployed.

This is the fourth round of polling in the state that sends 40 lawmakers to parliament. Polling for the fifth and sixth phases will be held May 7 and May 12.

In the 2009 election, Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United won five of these seven seats while its then ally, Bharatiya Janata Party, wrested the remaining two.

Both parties are contesting the polls alone for the first time since 1996 after the JD-U ended its 17-year alliance with the BJP last year.

(Published 30 April 2014, 15:40 IST)

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