| Voters queue up at a poll booth in Bettiah on Monday. Picture by Lokesh Bihari |
Barring a group clash in the Gopalganj Lok Sabha seat involving Kuchaykot MLA Amrendra Pandey alias Pappu Pandey, the final phase of the Lok Sabha polls in the six parliamentary constituencies in the state passed off peacefully.
Chief electoral officer Ajay V. Naik said except the clash at the Kuchaykot Assembly segment in the Gopalganj constituency, the polling was peaceful in Valmikinagar, West Champaran, East Champaran, Vaishali, Gopalganj (SC) and Siwan parliamentary constituencies. Additional chief electoral officer R. Laxmanan said an FIR had been lodged with Mirganj police station against five persons, including the Kuchaykot MLA, Pandey. Two persons had been arrested and efforts were on to nab the JD(U) legislator.
There was high turnout in the Gopalganj constituency despite the clash — fifty-four per cent, up by 17.6 per cent compared to the last Lok Sabha polls. High polling was recorded in all the six seats despite the scorching heat in the state. The overall polling percentage was 56.75 per cent, over 10 per cent more compared to the 2009 Lok Sabha polls’ 44.34 per cent. (See chart)
The participation of women in this Lok Sabha elections was better than their male counterparts. The percentage of women voters was three per cent more than the male voters, Naik said, claiming that it was the fallout of better security arrangements.
Besides the six seats in Bihar, polling was held in 35 other Lok Sabha constituencies — eighteen in Uttar Pradesh and 17 in Bengal — in the final phase of the general election.
The region in which the polls were conducted in the state on Monday is known as the “sugar belt”, a stronghold of the erstwhile NDA. “We have a strike rate of 90 per cent in this region”, said BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, expressing the hope that his party would win all the six seats.
Former Union minister and the RJD candidate from Vaishali, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, however, appeared confident of retaining the seat he has been holding for the past 18 years.
Besides Raghuvansh, fates of RJD leader Raghunath Jha, filmmaker Prakash Jha and former Bihar BJP president Radha Mohan Singh were sealed in EVMs on Monday.
Naik, the chief electoral officer, said the commission had received complaints about poll boycott calls from two polling stations each in West Champaran and East Champaran. Total 80 persons were taken into custody on the charge of creating disturbances at different polling stations in the six constituencies, he added.