Bihar witnesses 97.84 per cent turnout in Upper House polls
Bihar witnessed 97.84 per cent polling on Monday in the elections for 24 Legislative Council seats spread across the state. The counting will be done on April 7.
All the 24 seats belong to the three-tier local self-governance bodies’ quota and the voters are members of zilla parishads, panchayat samitis, municipal corporations and municipal bodies; mukhiyas, ward representatives, MPs, MLAs and MLCs. The Legislative Council has a strength of 75.
Altogether 187 candidates are contesting and vying to get elected to the Upper House through the “preferential voting system”. The polling was conducted through ballot papers. There are 1.34 lakh voters in the council polls.
“The polling was held peacefully with 97.84 per cent of the electorate exercising their franchise. FIRs have been registered against the MLAs of Phulwari, Barari and Kodha constituencies for violating the model code of conduct for the elections,” Bihar chief electoral officer (CEO) H.R. Srinivasa said.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar was also among those who cast their votes.
He denied any intention of going to the Rajya Sabha and called the news related to it doing rounds as “baseless and surprising”.
“We hope the voters will make all NDA candidates victorious,” Nitish said and revealed that he will campaign for the Bochaha Assembly bypoll on April 10. The BJP has fielded its candidate from there.
Three members of a poll monitoring party, including a zonal magistrate, were injured when their vehicle veered off a small bridge and plunged into a canal in Bhojpur district. They all are out of danger.
The NDA is contesting on all the seats — the BJP on 12, Janata Dal United on 11 and Lok Janshakti Party (Rashtriya) on one.
On the other hand, the main Opposition party Rashtriya Janata Dal is contesting on 23 seats, giving just one seat to Grand Alliance partner Communist Party of India. It left the other major partner Congress out, which has fielded candidates on 15 seats.
Apart from these, candidates from LJP (Ram Vilas), Vikassheel Insan Party (VIP) and independents are also in fray on some seats, making the contest triangular and more interesting.
The BJP had previously won 13 of the 24 seats for which polls have been held. It is contesting on 12 this time and it will be interesting to see whether it retains them or loses ground. The performance of the JDU will also indicate whether the voters are happy with the NDA policies or not.
If the RJD wins at least five seats in the polls, it will be able to stake claim for the position of the leader of Opposition for former chief minister Rabri Devi in the House. Apart from being seen as a prestige issue, it will also confer a status equivalent to a cabinet minister on her.
The BJP and RJD are contending with rebel candidates too, who are either contesting as independents or have fielded their family members after being denied tickets.