Patna:Over 46 per cent voter turnout has been recorded till 3 PM in the first phase of Bihar assembly polls on Wednesday, the Election Commission said in its provisional data. Voting started at a sluggish pace due to technical glitches at some of the polling booths.
Keeping in mind the Coronavirus pandemic and fear of violence in areas affected by Maoist extremists, voting was far from brisk in the morning hours. With the progress of time, voters turnout at booths has been increasing at several places notwithstanding raging coronavirus cases in the state.
A total of 71 assembly segments of the state's 243 constituencies are voting in the first phase in which nearly 2.15 crore voters will decide the electoral fate of over 1,000 candidates. In the first phase, 114 women are in the fray among the total in contest.
As per the provisional voter turnout data updated by the Election Commission at 3 PM, 46.29 per cent of the total electorates have exercised their franchise.
Jamui leading the turnout with 49.88 per cent voting, followed by Buxar (48.91 per cent), Kaimur (49.26 per cent), Banka (47.44 per cent), Patna (45.77 per cent), Bhagalpur (45.51 per cent), Aurangabad 48.69 per cent and Gaya 48.14 per cent among others.
Besides these constituencies, the voter turnout in Munger 41.93 per cent, Shekhpura 41.67 per cent, Bhojpur 43.08 per cent, Rohtas 43.79 per cent, Arwal 42.43 per cent, Jahanabad 44.21 per cent and Nawada 45.70 per cent.
Only Sandesh and Barbigha assembly seats have seen less less than 40 per cent voting till 3 PM out of the total 71 constituencies in the first phase.
Union minister and senior BJP leader Giriraj Singh cast his vote at a polling booth in Lakhisarai, while former Bihar chief minister and HAM president Jitan Ram Manjhi exercised his franchise at a booth in Gaya.
State ministers and also candidates from different constituencies- Vijay Sinha and Krishnandan Verma- and commonwealth games gold medal winning shooter Shreyasi Singh, BJP nominee from Jamui seat, cast their vote.
Enthusiasm of voters was seen at many a booth. In Nawada, a physically challenged voter reached booth on his tricycle to cast his vote.
In Dinana assembly constituency, a group of women expressed happiness after exercising franchise.
But, in the naxal-affected areas polling time has been curtailed.
Violent incidents were reported in some parts of Bihar including in Kaimur district where two groups comprising more than 50 people attacked each other.
They were dispersed by para military force personnel. The situation is now under control. Tekari is another place apart from Ara where an altercation between supporters of two alliances was reported.
Out of the 71 constituencies, 35 are in naxal-affected areas where polling will be held in a staggered manner..
The Election Commission has established 31,380 polling booths in these districts. There are 1,066 candidates who are testing their luck in the first phase.There is high security deployed at all polling stations.
Elections are to be held in three phases for the 243 Assembly seats in Bihar. The second phase of voting for 94 seats will be on November 3 and for the third phase of 78 seats will be on November 7. Counting will take place on November 10.