Heat could not beat voters on Tuesday. Residents in the suburbs of the state capital Danapur, Khagaul and Phulwarisharif came out in large numbers to vote during the municipal polls.
Despite the maximum temperature on Tuesday being recorded at 44.4°C the highest this season the turnout in Danapur, Phulwarisharif and Khagaul municipal polls stood at 63, 56 and 54 per cent, respectively.
The state election commission had imposed a ban on movement of two-wheelers in all election areas. But that did not deter people from coming out to vote. Some chose to walk and few hopped on to cycle rickshaws to reach the polling booths.
The length of the queues remained almost the same throughout the voting hours. Those with umbrellas were seen sharing their shield with others as the sunrays threatened to scorch the skin.
Only 46.5 per cent voters had turned up to cast their votes during the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) polls on May 17, when the temperature was 43.3°C.
Even on Tuesday, only 42 per cent voters turned up for polling in ward number 39 of PMC. In ward numbers 33, 60 and 68, where re-polling was held at eight booths, the voter turnout was better at 57 per cent, said officials.
In the suburbs, voters crowded the polling centres from 7am to 4pm, when the polling process concluded. Such was the enthusiasm of voters that the voting time had to be extended by more than an hour at a few booths in Danapur and Masaurhi municipal councils.
Voters said they had strong and long-pending civic issues, which they wanted their elected candidates to resolve as early as possible.
The road from Danapur railway station to Khagaul railway crossing in the east and Saguna Mor in the north are nightmares for commuters. Big stone chips and heaps of sand are dumped along the road for over three months now. My institute is located at Bihta and our bus has no option but to ply on this stretch. Every day the bus gets stuck for at least half-an-hour in snarls because of the poor condition of the road. Road construction material are lying on the road and nobody is bothered to clear them, said Kunal Kumar Singh, a student of Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology, Bihta.
The vicinities along Bailey Road-Saguna Mor are low-lying areas and remain water-logged during the monsoon. My expectation from the civic body is better drainage system, including construction of storm water drainage facilities, said Dhanajay Kumar, a resident of Gola Road, Danapur Municipal Council.
The condition of roads in most vicinities of Phulwarisharif is very poor and one can hardly find streetlights. The drains are mostly open causing all kinds of diseases. I have cast my vote today because I want to get rid of these issues and live in a clean environment, said Tabish, a voter at booth number 17 of ward number 1 at Phulwarisharif Municipal Council.
The authorities failed to meet most of the promises made by the election panel to provide comfortable voting environment.
No drinking water tankers, ambulances and mobile toilets were seen anywhere near the polling booths. Also, no women observer was seen at most of the booths for identification of burqa-clad women.
Ramesh Prasad, the additional district magistrate of Patna, said no violence was reported.