Defying a boycott call by Maoists, an impressive 52.55 per cent of 98.44 lakh voters exercised their franchise in the second phase of Bihar Assembly elections for 45 seats on Sunday.
Stray incidents of violence marked polling in several constituencies.
The highest polling was reported in East Champaran with 58% voter turnout, followed by Samastipur’s 54.30%and Muzaffarpur’s 53.35%. Darbhanga recorded the lowest 48.8% polling, while it was 51% in Sitamarhi.
Shehohar, where Naxals blew up a police vehicle a day earlier killing six policemen, witnessed 49% polling, according to the election office.
The turnout was nearly six percentage points higher than October 2005. Polling was 55% in Thursday’s first phase. Voters in more than a dozen villages in Darbhanga and Rosera boycotted polling to protest lack of development. At some places, polling started late due to snags in electronic voting machines (EVMs).
In Muzaffarpur district, vehicles of minister of state for water resources Dinesh Prasad Kushawaha and ruling BJP nominee Veena Devi were attacked in Minapur and Gaighat constituencies. While the minister escaped unhurt, his bodyguard was injured.
Police arrested 109 persons in different constituencies, DGP Neelmani said. A total of 623 candidates, including 46 women, were in the fray on Sunday.
The Congress and the BSP were contesting all the seats on Sunday, while the ruling JD(U) fielded candidates in 28 and ally BJP in 17.
The RJD is in the fray in 34 constituencies, while LJP is trying its luck on 11 seats. CPI-M and CPI had put up eight candidates each, while CPI-ML is contesting on 11 seats.
Stalwarts in the fray included state RJD chief Abdul Bari Siddiqui (Alinagar), his JD(U) counterpart Vijay Kumar Choudhary (Sarairanjan) and minister Ramnath Thakur.