54% Voting in Bihar 1st phase of poll

Amid tight security, an estimated 54.31 percent of the 1.07 crore voters on Thursday exercised their franchise in the first phase of the Bihar Assembly polls in 47 of the 243 seats. Describing the voting as absolutely peaceful, Director General of Police Neelmani said 150 persons were arrested for indulging in electoral malpractices and trying to disturb polling. The DIG and Commissioner of Purnia division along with Special Task Force commandos carried out aerial patrol in two helicopters during polling. While 85 percent of booths were manned by central paramilitary forces and armed police from other states, the rest were guarded by the Bihar Military Police. The state's borders with Nepal and West Bengal were sealed.
State Chief Electoral Officer S K Rakesh said voters were in queue at two booths in Rupauli and Dhamda constituencies in Purnia district even after the end of polling. This could raise the overall turnout by one percent, he said. Briefing reporters in Delhi, Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi said barring some stray cases, no untoward incident was reported. "There was no incident of booth capturing," he said adding people boycotted polling in 10 booths protesting "lack of developmental and local issues."