Lok Sabha elections 2019: 1st phase turnout at 53.06% in Bihar
The first phase of Lok Sabha elections in four Maoist-affected constituencies of Bihar and assembly bypoll in Nawada was by and large peaceful on Thursday, barring a few stray incidents of violence reported from Nawada and Shiekhpura.
The four constituencies, Nawada, Gaya, Jamui and Aurangabad, witnessed 2.27% increase in voting as compared to 2014 parliamentary polls. The average polling in the first phase was 53.06%.
Electorate, including women, participated enthusiastically in the voting exercise despite Chaiti Chhath evening “arghya” falling on the day.
When the voting ended at 6 pm, the highest polling of 56% was recorded in Gaya, followed by 52.50% in Nawada and 54% in Jamui.
The lowest polling of 49.85% was recorded in Aurangabad. Nawada assembly bypoll witnessed 52% voting.
In Maoist-affected areas, the polling began at 7 am and ended at 4 pm.
Assembly bypoll in Nawada was necessitated following conviction of sitting MLA Rajballabh Yadav in a rape case and his subsequent resignation.
Altogether, 44 candidates are in fray for four parliamentary constituencies while eight are in contest for Nawada assembly bypoll.
Addressing the media, chief electoral officer (CEO), Bihar, HR Srinivasa, said 36 persons were arrested for disturbing poll process. In Nawada, some people tried to loot the electronic voting machine (EVM) and ransack the control room.
ADG (headquarters) Kundan Krishnan said raids were being conducted at Sisua (Nawada LS constituency), where a group of about 200 people tried to disrupt the voting. Police had to open fire in the air to disperse the mob there, he said.
A polling officer was at Qadirganj in Nawada after he was found to be drunk.
As the four Lok Sabha constituencies are Maoist-hit, the Election Commission had taken all precautionary measures. Besides deploying 41,000 security personnel, two helicopters were kept as standby besides an air ambulance that was stationed in Gaya.
A total of 7,486 polling booths were set up in the four constituencies.
Reports from Gaya said the Maoists tried to create trouble in Imamganj (Aurangabad) and Dumaria in Gaya district, where three “live bombs” were planted near a school. The security forces recovered the bombs and defused them. While a bomb was found at Salaiya under police station, two others were recovered under Nevra bridge on Imamganj-Dumaria Road. However, the CEO said the all the bombs and landmines were sand-filled.
Srinivasa said the electorate boycotted voting at some booths located at Sherghati, Bodh Gaya, Wazirganj, Jamui and Sikandra over development issues.