A surge in voter turnouts was recorded in seven Lok Sabha seats in northeast Bihar as 59.43% electors cast their ballot during Thursday’s round. The 7.21% rise from the 2009 poll results, however, fell slightly short of expectations created by a pre-poll ‘wave’ and ‘polarisation’ talk.
The region of the seven seats is known as the Muslim hub of Bihar.
The highest percentage of polling (64%) was recorded in Kishanganj and Katihar.
In Kishanganj, where Muslims constitute almost 70% of the population, sitting Congress MP Maulana Asrarul Haque Kasmi is in a virtual direct contest with the BJP's Dilip Jaiswal.
In Katihar, where Union minister of state for agriculture Tariq Anwar is seeking to unseat sitting BJP MP Nikhil Choudhary, the polling percentage picked up from a relatively low 42% at 2pm to end at 64%.
In Araria, where former Union minister of state for home Mohammad Taslimuddin is striving to best sitting BJP MP Pradip Singh, the polling at close of voting stood at 60%. In Bhagalpur, where sitting BJP MP Syed Shahnawaz Hussain is being challenged by the RJD's Bulo Mandal and the JD(U)'s Abu Kaisar, the polling was the lowest (55%) among the seven seats.
The neighbouring constituency of Banka, where sitting MP Putul Kumari, elected as an Independent in 2009 but contesting as the BJP nominee this time against RJD's Jayaprakash Yadav, the polling was only marginally better at 56%. The polling percentage at close was 59% in both Supaul and Purnia.
Additional director general of police Ravindra Kumar said 98 people were arrested for disturbing the voting process. In the Supaul LS seat, Rs 1.68 lakh unaccounted cash was seized, he said, adding, the Indian Muslim League candidate from the constituency, Mohammad Amanullah, was arrested on the charge of illegally influencing the voters.
With Thursday’s voting in the third phase of the elections in the state, elections have been completed for 20 out of a total 40 Lok Sabha constituencies. Another seven seats will go to the polls in the next phase on April 30.
Here's a map for the constituencies going to polls on Thursday. On searching, you will get details of all parties fighting from a constituency and key candiates there:
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