Millions vote in third round of Bihar election
Patna, Oct 28 (IANS) Nearly seven million people voted by Wednesday evening in the third round of the Bihar assembly election that covered 50 of the 243 constituencies, officials said.
Tens of thousands, including women, stood in serpentine queues at polling stations since early in the morning to vote in six districts. The polling was peaceful, authorities said.
By 4 p.m., 45.59 percent of the 14.5 million electorate had voted, election officials said. The final voting figure is expected to go up.
Polling in 10 constituencies located in Maoist strongholds ended at 4 p.m.
Barring minor clashes, the polling was peaceful, police said.
Polling began at 7 a.m. in the districts of Patna, Saran, Vaishali, Nalanda, Bhojpur and Buxar.
Bollywood actor-turned-BJP MP Satrughan Sinha voted here, and said “khamosh” (silence) when journalists asked him who he thought will win: the BJP-led four-party alliance or the Grand Alliance of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
RJD leader Lalu Prasad and his family, including wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi and daughter Misa Bharti and son Tej Pratap, voted in Patna.
After voting, Lalu Prasad hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Modi is playing the communal card on reservation. People in the country never expected such words from the prime minister,” he said.
He was referring to Modi’s statement that the Grand Alliance was trying to put in quotas in jobs and educational institutions for Muslims.
Senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi also voted in Patna.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar cast his vote in Bakhtiyarpur constituency in Patna district.
Bihar Police chief P.K. Thakur told the media that the polling was mostly peaceful.
Officials said voters in over a dozen villages in Patna, Vaishali, Bhojpur, Saran and Nalanda boycotted the polls and shouted slogans against what they said was lack of development.
According to the Association for Democratic Reforms and the National Election Watch, 215 of the candidates in the third round face serious criminal charges, including those of murder.
The staggered elections to pick a 243-member Bihar assembly will end on November 5. The result will be revealed three days later.
In the first and second phases of the elections on October 12 and 16, polling was held in 49 and 32 constituencies. The fourth round will be held on November 1.