Amid boycott, Bihar sees 57% voting in first phase

Amid boycott, Bihar sees 57% voting in first phase

 Amid poll boycott call given by the Maoists, the first phase of elections for Bihar’s 49 constituencies passed off peacefully.

According to Election Commission sources, 57 per cent of the electorate on Monday came out to cast their votes in different constituencies spread over 10 districts in the state.
Additional Chief Electoral Officer (ACEO) R Lakshmanan said turnout of woman voters was relatively more compared to previous poll. “In all, 59.5 per cent woman voters turned up while 54.5 per cent male electorate cast their votes,” the ACEO said.

“The senior-most voter who exercised her franchise on Monday was 108-year-old Maharani Devi at Teghra Assembly constituency in Begusarai,” said chief electoral officer Ajay Nayak here on Monday.

Bihar will witness a five-phase election following which poll results will be declared on November 8. The second phase of polling will take place on October 16. After that, there will a short break because of Durga Puja and Muharram. The third phase will commence on October 28, followed by November 1. The fifth and last day of voting will take place on November 5. Monday’s election sealed the fate of 583 candidates, many of whom are Independents. Stung by allegation of corruption against one of its ministers Awadhesh Kushwaha (now dropped from the Cabinet), the ruling JD (U)’s prestige is at stake as in 2010 Assembly elections, it had won 29 seats out of 49 constituencies where voting took place on Monday.

The BJP, which is trying to cash in on Narendra Modi wave against Nitish-led alliance, had won 13 seats in 2010. This time the saffron brigade is contesting elections in alliance with the LJP, RLSP and the HAM.

The Congress’s credibility too is at stake as the first phase of polling took place in Bhagalpur from where its sitting MLA Ajit Sharma faces a formidable BJP candidate Arjit Shashwat, son of BJP MP Ashwani Choubey. The fate of former Assembly Speaker and senior-most Congress leader Sadanand Singh, who is an MLA since 1969, has also been sealed from Kahalgaon.

Altogether 725 companies, including 189 companies of the CRPF and 115 companies of the CISF, were deployed to ensure free and fair elections in all the 10 districts, out of which six – Nawada, Jamui, Lakhisarai, Banka, Khagaria and Munger – are Maoist-affected.

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