Patna: Over 55 percent of the voters had cast their ballot till 4 p.m. on Sunday in the fourth round of Bihar’s assembly elections, officials said.
More than 55 percent of 14 million eligible voters exercised their franchise by 4 p.m. in 55 of the 243 constituencies spread over seven districts, an Election Commission official said.
The figure is likely to go up by the end of the day, the official said.
Tens of thousands of people, including many women, stood in serpentine queues at polling stations since early Sunday to cast their vote in this phase.
Polling in 12 of the 55 assembly constituencies, mostly Maoist affected, ended at 3 p.m.
Voters began queueing up even before many polling stations opened. As the day progressed, the voting picked up.
“Initially queues were small. Now voters are standing in long queues outside polling booths,” said an official with the chief electoral officer.
At some places, the electronic voting machines malfunctioned. But it was a smooth exercise in a state notorious for election violence.
There was no major incident of violence, but police used force when rival political activists clashed outside a polling booth in Sheohar district, officials said.
As many as 776 candidates were in the fray on Sunday in Gopalganj, Siwan, West Champaran, East Champaran, Sheohar, Sitamarhi and Muzaffarpur districts.
The main contest is between Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its three allies, and the Grand Alliance of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar which has the Janata Dal-United, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress as components.
Bihar Police chief P.K. Thakur said barring minor clashes, the polling was peaceful.
Five helicopters, drones and 1,163 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed, Additional Chief Electoral Officer R. Lakshaman said.
The staggered elections to pick a 243-member Bihar assembly will end on November 5. The result will be known three days later after vote count on November 8.
First Published | 1 November 2015 11:43 AM