Turnout in West Bengal 82 per cent, Bihar 58 per cent

Last Updated 30 April 2014, 15:50 IST

West Bengal recorded a turnout of nearly 82 per in nine Lok Sabha seats while it was 58 per cent for seven seats in Bihar in the seventh phase of polls in the two states in eastern India.

Prominent candidates whose electoral fates were sealed in EVMS were JD(U) President Sharad Yadav and BJP's Kirti Azad, who were among the 94 candidates in Bihar, and BJP's Bappi Lahiri, journalist-turned-politician Chandan Mitra and actor George Baker, who were among the 87 nominees in West Bengal.

Trinamool Congress had fielded MPs Satabdi Roy, Kalyan Banerjee and Sultan Ahmed, besides Prasun Banerjee, a former India soccer player from the state.

"On an average 81.35 per cent of the voters cast their votes till 6 pm in the nine constituencies of Howrah, Uluberia, Serampore, Hooghly, Arambagh, Burdwan (East), Burdwan-Durgapur, Bolpur and Birbhum," West Bengal Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta said in Kolkata.

He expected the final turnout to be a little higher as there were still long queues at many polling stations.

Barring some stray incidents the election was free, fair and peaceful, the CEO said.
It was, however, contrary to what the EC's Special Observer for the state Sudhir Kumar Rakesh said.

"The election was free and fair, but I can't say peaceful. Better you say if it was peaceful or not," he said.

A presiding officer and a polling officer at Moigram Primary School booth under Arambagh Parliamentary constituency were removed following complaints of partiality.
Show-cause notice and departmental proceedings were slapped against them, Gupta said.

In Bihar, the turnout was 58 per cent in the fourth phase of polling which was 12 per cent more than the 2009 election, Chief Election Officer Ajay Nayak told reporters in Patna.
Sixty per cent polling was recorded at Madhepura constituency where JD(U) president Sharad Yadav was contesting.

Madhubani witnessed 56 per cent, Jhanjharpur 56 pc, Darbhanga 57 pc, Samastipur 55 pc, Begusarai 64 pc and Khagaria 55 pc at the end of polling at 6 pm, Nayak told reporters.

A bypoll was also held in Sahebpur Kamal Assembly seat following resignation of former minister Parveen Amanullah from the Nitish Kumar Cabinet.

Stakes were high for the BJP in Bihar as five of the seven seats were won by the party last time in 2009. One each were held by rivals Congress and JD(U).

Despite the temperature touching over 42 degrees Celsius, enthusiasm of voters both young and old was visible.

A 90-year-old woman Ram Pyari was carried to a polling station on a charpoy after crossing a rivulet.

In Purnea, an elderly woman who was the first to cast her vote in a booth was presented with flowers by the poll official to motivate voters.

In West Bengal, Abhijit Mukherjee, son of President Pranab Mukherjee, Union minister Deepa Dasmunshi Mamata Banerjee's bete noire, MP Mausam Noor, Abu Hashem Khan Chowdhury all of Congress were important contenders among the 78 candidates.

Abhijit had won the Jangipur seat by a slender margin of 2,536 votes in the 2012 by-election when his father Pranab Mukherjee vacated the seat.

The elections would indicate whether the Congress would be able to retain its north Bengal bastion, or the Trinamool Congress would make inroads.

Five of the six seats - Raiganj, Maldaha Uttar, Maldaha Dakshin, Jangipur and Murshidabad were won by the Congress in the 2009 general elections, which it fought in alliance with the TMC, while the RSP had won the Balurghat seat.

In Jharkhand, among the 72 candidates contesting were former chief ministers Shibu Soren of JMM, Babulal Marandi of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) and BJP's Sunil Soren.

The four seats where polling was being held were Dhanbad, Dumka, Raj Mahal and Godda.

Among the 74 candidates in Assam were AIUDF chief and sitting MP Badruddin Ajmal, Congress candidate Wazed Ali Choudhury and BJP's Debamoy Sanyal, Assam Tourism minister Chandan Brahma of BPF and sitting BPF MP S K Bwismuthiary.

Polling was being held in Kokrajhar (ST), Dhubri, Barpeta, Mangaldoi, Gauhati and Nowgong.

(Published 30 April 2014, 15:50 IST)

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