An estimated 53 per cent of the 1.07 crore voters exercised their franchise today in 47 of the 243 seats in the first phase of the Bihar Assembly elections which passed off by and large peacefully amid tight security.
Over 150 persons were arrested for indulging in electoral malpractices and trying to disturb polling, Director General of Police Neelmani said, adding several vehicles, including motorcycles were seized. He described the voting as absolutely peaceful.
An official report from Madhepura district said BPL card holders and local people pelted stones at two booths, but they were pacified by authorities who allowed them to cast their ballots.
A bomb exploded outside a booth at Laukha in Madhubani district, but there was no injury, police sources said.
Official sources said Samajwadi Janata Party candidate Alumiddin Ansari was taken into custody for creating disturbance at a booth at Bayasi in Purnia district.
Prominent among the 631 contestants in fray for the first phase are senior JD(U) ministers Vijendra Prasad Yadav, Narendra Narain Yadav, Renu Kumari, Hari Prasad Sah, Congress nominee Ranjeet Ranjan, wife of former MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, state Congress chief Choudhary Mehboob Ali Kaiser and Lovely Anand, the wife of former MP Anand Mohan.