55 pc polling in Bihar Phase II

55 pc polling in Bihar Phase II

The fate of 456 candidates, including former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and Assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary, was sealed on Friday in a peaceful polling during Bihar’s second phase of election.

According to Election Commission sources, 55 per cent of the total 86 lakh voters in 32 constituencies, spread over six districts, cast their votes.

The fate of two of the BJP chief ministerial hopefuls, Prem Kumar (Gaya) and Rajendra Singh (Dinara), was also sealed. Rajendra is an old RSS hand working for the party organisation for more than three decades. But this is for the first time that he jumped into the  electoral fray from a Maoist-hit constituency in Rohtas district. BJP sources said if he wins, he could be, much like Haryana Chief Minister Khattar, one of the dark horses for the state’s top post. But so will be Prem Kumar, who has won from Gaya for six consecutive times since 1990.

The second phase of election was all the more crucial as it took place in 32 constituencies most of which were afflicted by the Left-wing extremism. Such was the Maoists’ threat in these areas that only nine of 32 constituencies had a normal polling hour from 7 am to 5 pm. The voting in 11 other constituencies took place from 7 am to 3 pm while the remaining 12 seats saw polling from 7 am to 4 pm.

Tightest-ever security arrangements were made in all six districts, four of which share borders with either Jharkhand or Uttar Pradesh. Taking nothing to chance, the EC had pressed into service five helicopters and 993 companies of central para-military forces on Friday.

Bihar is slated to have a five-phase Assembly election spread over October and November. The remaining three phases will resume on October 28 after a short break due to Durga Puja and Muharram. The fourth and fifth phase of polling will take place on November 1 and November 5, respectively. The counting of votes will take place on November 8, three days before Deepavali.

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