53.55 per cent polling in eight LS seats of Bihar
Patna: An estimated 53.55 per cent of over 1.52 crore voters exercised their franchise on Sunday in eight Lok Sabha constituencies of Bihar in the seventh and final phase of the general election.
Polling, was held at 15,811 booths in the eight seats - Nalanda, Patna Sahib, Pataliputra, Arrah, Buxar, Jehanabad, Sasaram (SC) and Karakat - amid tight security.
Of the eight Lok Sabha constituencies, Sasaram recorded the highest turnout at 57.74 per cent, followed by Pataliputra at 57.26 per cent, Buxar at 55.60 per cent, Karakat at 55 per cent, Nalanda at 54.40 per cent, Jehanabad at 54 per cent and Arrah at 52.60 per cent, an Election Commission official said.
Patna Sahib, the high-profile seat with 21,42,842 voters in the state, recorded the lowest turnout at 43.54 per cent.
Altogether 157 candidates, including four Union ministers, were in the fray in the seventh phase of the parliamentary polls.
Voting was also held for bypoll to Dehri Assembly seat, which fell vacant last year upon the disqualification of RJD MLA and former state minister Mohd Ilyas Husain - convicted in the bitumen scam by a Ranchi court.
Private security guards of RJD leader Tej Pratap Yadav beat up a couple of photo journalists in the city after one of them allegedly smashed the windscreen of the former Bihar minister's vehicle, enraged over the car crushing the toes of a fellow lensman.
The incident took place at the Veterinary College here, where a polling station had been set up and the maverick leader had arrived to cast his vote for the Patna Sahib Lok Sabha constituency.
Barring a few instances of EVM glitches, polling had been peaceful, the election official said.
"Going by the reports that reached us from the district headquarters, we have found out that the voting process was temporarily hampered at a few polling stations in Arrah, Sasaram, Jehanabad, Pataliputra and Buxar. The officials attended to the complaints and redressed the grievances," he said.
Prominent candidates whose electoral fate were sealed in Sunday's polling include Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, his Congress rival Shatrughan Sinha (Patna Sahib), Union minister Ram Kripal Yadav, his RJD rival Misa Bharti (Pataliputra), Central ministers Ashwini Kumar Choubey (Buxar) and R K Singh (Ara), and former Lok Sabha speaker and senior Congress leader Meira Kumar (Sasaram).
Kumar, after casting his vote at a polling station near Raj Bhawan, told reporters that summer months were not appropriate for holding the elections.
"Such long-drawn elections should not be held in intense heat conditions. This is not an appropriate time (conducive atmosphere) for holding elections. It must be held in February-March or October-November in two to three phases," he said.
Some of the restaurants in Patna decided to offer discounts to customers who showed their inked fingers.
Conjoined twins Sabah and Farah (23), who earned their right to be treated as two different individuals, cast their votes separately for the first time.
"We are very happy that we have been given separate voting rights. We have voted for development," Sabah said.