Ignoring the scorching summer heat, 59.38 per cent of the 1.38 crore electorate in eight of Bihar’s 40 Lok Sabha seats, which went to the polls in the sixth phase of polling on Sunday, had cast their vote till 6 p.m., officials here said.
Voting in the state’s Bhojpuri-speaking northern belt was held amidst tight security and passed off without any violence, except for some clashes between supporters of rival parties, as per officials at the police headquarters here.
A polling official in the Sheohar constituency was seriously injured when a bullet accidentally fired by a home guard hit him in the stomach, a police official said. The injured official was rushed to hospital.
Voters will decide the fate of 127 candidates in the Gopalganj, Siwan, Maharajganj, East Champaran, West Champaran, Valmiki Nagar, Sheohar and Vaishali constituencies.
Long queues were seen at polling booths in rural as well as urban pockets of these constituencies despite heat wave-like conditions. Women were seen in large numbers outside polling booths in the initial three hours of voting.
“In the initial polling, women in large numbers were seen standing outside polling booths. They aimed to escape the scorching sun and hot winds later in the day,” an official said.
Voting was delayed in a few polling booths across the eight seats due to malfunctioning of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
Union Minister Radha Mohan Singh cast his vote in Motihari, while Hina Sahab, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) candidate from Siwan, also exercised her franchise.
Heavy security arrangements were in place with three helicopters requisitioned to provide air cover to the security forces. The India-Nepal border has also been sealed.
The stakes are high in this phase for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA as it aims to retain all these eight seats it had won in the 2014 general elections.
For the opposition Grand Alliance, its a win-win situation as it eyes to gain some seats with nothing to lose.