Battle for Bihar: 57.4 % voter turnout in phase 1

RSTV Bureau

Bihar-assembly-polls-2015-1Voting for the first phase of Bihar polls has ended. 49 seats, spread over 10 districts, polled in the 1st phase. 583 candidates, including 54 women, were in the fray. According to the Election Commission of India, 57.4% voters turned up to vote in the first phase.

Voting ended at 5 pm for 36 of the 49 constituencies. 9 constituencies finished polling by 3 pm and 4 others polled till 4 pm because of the law and order situation of the area. Some of these constituencies are in the naxal-infested areas, said Additional Chief Electoral Officer (ACEO) R Laxmanan.

PM Modi tweeted on Monday morning to urge voters to come out in large numbers to cast their vote.

“Urging all those voting today in Bihar to vote in large numbers. I particularly urge my young friends to cast their vote.” the PM tweeted.

Voting took place at 13, 212 polling stations amid tight security. No major incident to violence has been reported. 1.20 lakh CRPF personnel were deployed for the day and over 63 thousand polling personnel facilitated the polls.

The electorate for 49 constituencies is estimated to be 1.35 crore. In the party-wise break-up, the BSP leaded the pack with 41 candidates, followed by BJP (27), RJD (17), LJP (13), Congress (8) and RLSP (6).

Polls in the 243-member Bihar Assembly will take place in 5 phases. Last phase of polling will be held on November 5 and counting of votes will take place on November 8.

Campaigning for the 1st phase of polls ended on Saturday evening. Bihar saw a high decibel campaign by several leaders from the state and the Centre. PM Narendra Modi along with BJP President Amit Shah extensively campaigned for the NDA along with state leaders Sushil Kumar Modi and Nand Kishore Yadav, hitting out at their opponent the Grand Alliance. The Grand Alliance which is seen as an anti-Modi bloc, has for the first time brought rivals RJD and JD(U) together. RJD chief Lalu Prasad has joined hands with JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, along with the Congress to counter the growing presence of NDA in the region. The Grand Alliance has declared Nitish Kumar as its CM face whereas the BJP has not zeroed in on a CM candidate.

All along both sides raked up the caste issue and indulged in extreme mudslinging while campaigning. And they also claimed to fight the polls on the plank of development.

(With inputs from PTI)