With the sixth phase of Bihar Assembly elections ending on Saturday, bringing down the curtain on the month-long poll process in 243 constituencies, the Election Commission heaved a sigh of relief with Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi claiming that “it was the most peaceful election ever” held in the State.

In Bihar, violence and elections were synonymous once with incidents of looting, booth capturing, impersonation and kidnappings reported during polls.

Thanks to the tight security measures taken by the Commission, the turnout improved in this elections with an average 52.43 per cent voters exercising their franchise (in all the six phases) instead of 45.85 per cent in the October 2005 Assembly elections and 44.6 per cent in last year's Lok Sabha elections. In the final phase of polling held on Saturday in 26 constituencies, among which at least 18 came under the Naxal belt, around 50.98 per cent voters exercised their franchise.

Mr. Quraishi told journalists here that there was not a single case of booth capturing in this election.

The counting would be taken up on November 24 and the EC was fully geared to ensure that the exercise goes off in a peaceful and fair manner and had appointed independent observers.