Patna: The voter turnout in the third and final phase of Bihar elections was recorded at 57.58 per cent on Saturday which is more than the polling percentage witnessed in the previous two rounds, according to Election Commission data.
The provisional turnout in the third phase of polling on 78 seats spread in 15 districts is 57.58 per cent, according to poll panel data updated till 8 pm.
The polling percentage will go up as more inputs from the constituencies come.
According to Election Commission figures, the final voter turnout in the first phase of polling held on October 28 was 55.68 per cent, while it was 55.70 per cent in the second phase of polls held on November 3.Meanwhile Violence was reported in Katihar district while polling was underway. Men of the paramilitary forces lathicharged a crowd at booth number 86 in Kodha Assembly constituency after voters turned in large numbers to vote.
According to officials, some antisocial elements mingled with the voters to create a ruckus, leading to chaos at the polling booth. As the situation got out of control, paramilitary forces baton-charged the crowd to disperse it. Two persons were injured in the melee. They were discharged after preliminary treatment at an area hospital.
Earlier in the day, Beni Singh, the younger brother of RJD supporter Bittu Singh, was gunned down in Damdaha Assembly constituency in Purnea district by unidentified assailants, police said.
Deceased Beni Singh was moving from booth to booth in the constituency while polling was on in the third and final phase of Bihar Assembly elections during the day.
As he came out of a polling booth in Sarsi village, three to four assailants fired at him indiscriminately, killing him on the spot.
Polling began at 7 a.m. on Saturday amid tight security arrangements as well as norms put in place to maintain social distancing in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
According to the state election commission 33,782 polling stations was set up for more than 2.35 crore voters to exercise their franchise in this phase
According to the ECI, the fate of 1,204 candidates will be decided in this phase, out of which 1,094 are men and 110 women. Gaighat has 31 candidates in the fray, the maximum, while Dhaka, Triveniganj, Jokihat and Bahadurganj have nine candidates each, the minimum number.
Among 15 districts, Kishanganj, Purnia, Araria and Katihar have dominance of Muslim community. As per the data of Election Commission, Kishanganj has maximum 60 per cent Muslim voters, followed by Araria with 45 per cent, Karihar 40 per cent and Purnia 35 per cent. These four districts have 24 Assembly constituencies.
Kosi has three prominent districts Saharsa, Madhepura and Supaul having majority of Yadav community while Muslim community is less than 20 per cent. These three districts jointly have 13 assembly constituencies.
In 2015, JU-U managed to bag 23 out of 78 seats. But it was a part of Mahagathbandhan, therefore, Muslim community voted in support of the party. The equation is likely to change as JD-U is again a part of the NDA. RJD won 20 seats while Congress 11 seats and the BJP managed to win 20 seats.
In the first phase of election, 71 seats spread across 16 districts went to poll, while in the second, voters in 94 seats of 17 districts exercised their franchise on November 3.
With the voting concluding for all the 243 seats, the focus now shifts to November 10 counting of votes which will give Bihar a new government.
(With inputs from agencies)