44.73% voting recorded till 3 PM in Bihar

44.73% voting recorded till 3 PM in Bihar

East Champaran: Security personnel leave after collecting VVPAT's, EVM' and other election materials, ahead of sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections at East Champaran district of Bihar, Saturday, May 11, 2019. (PTI Photo)(PTI5_11_2019_000145B)

Around 44.73 per cent of 1.38 crore voters exercised their franchise till 3 pm in eight Lok Sabha seats of Bihar in the sixth phase of elections on Sunday, officials said.

A polling officer was killed at a booth in a freak incident of firing by a home guard before polling started in the Sheohar Lok Sabha seat.

A few incidents of malfunctioning of Electronic Voting Machines were reported from various booths, the officials said.

Altogether 1.38 crore voters would decide the fate of 127 candidates, including 16 women, across 13,973 polling stations.

Polling is currently underway "peacefully" in eight Lok Sabha constituencies of Valmikinagar, West Champaran, East Champaran, Sheohar, Vaishali, Gopalganj, Siwan and Maharajganj.

Voting, which began at 7 am, will end at 6 pm, except in three assembly constituencies of Minapur, Paroo and Sahebganj in the Vaishali Lok Sabha seat, and two assembly segments of Valmikinagar and Ramnagar in the Valmikinagar Lok Sabha constituency, where polling will conclude at 4 pm.

Valmikinagar recorded the highest voter turnout at 52.02 per cent, followed by 48.33 per cent in West Champaran, 46.94 per cent in Vaishali, 45.75 per cent in East Champaran, 43.76 per cent in Gopalganj, 43.50 per cent in Sheohar, 41.50 per cent in Siwan and 37 per cent in Maharajganj.

"Polling has been peaceful with no untoward incidents reported from any of these constituencies so far, except death of a polling officer in Sheohar in accidental firing... Voting began after rectifying the technical problems," election officials said.

The polling officer, identified as Shivendra Kishore, was killed at a booth in Sheohar constituency, when a homeguard accidently fired from his rifle, while he was cleaning his gun before the start of polls in the morning, Sheohar Sub-Divisional Police Officer Rakesh Kumar said.

He succumbed to bullet injuries at Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital, Muzaffarpur, during the course of treatment, SKMCH Superintendent Sunil Shahi said.

The homeguard, Saryug Das, a resident of Katihar, has been arrested after the incident, the SDPO said.

Prominent candidates whose electoral fate will be decided on Sunday's polling included Union minister Radha Mohan Singh (East Champaran), senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh (Vaishali), RJD's Heena Shahab (Siwan) who is the wife of Siwan strongman and former MP Mohammad Shahabuddin, BJP sitting MPs Rama Devi (Sheohar), Janardan Singh Sigriwal (Maharajganj) and Sanjay Jaiswal (West Champaran).