Bihar Assembly Elections 2015

53% turnout in third phase poll in Bihar

The crucial third phase polling in the Bihar Assembly elections on Wednesday saw only a marginal rise in the voter turnout compared to the Lok Sabha election and the last Assembly poll. The poll held in 50 seats in six districts apparently brought no good news for the Bhartiya Janata Party which was expecting a higher turnout.

Women voters marginally outnumbered their male counterparts. According to the Election Commission, the turnout was 53.32 per cent whereas in the 2010 Assembly poll it was 50.08 per cent and in the 2014 Lok Sabha poll it was 50.27 per cent. Women voters who exercised their franchise were 54 per cent against 52.5 per cent men.

After the not-so-encouraging trend in the first two phases, the BJP was expecting a higher turnout in the third phase where the party had fielded 34 candidates, leaving only16 seats for alliance partners the LJP, the RLSP and the HAM (S), with 10, 2 and 4 seats respectively.

In the 2010 Assembly poll, the NDA (the BJP and the JD-U) had won 42 out of 50 seats whereas the RJD had won 8 seats only. This time, with the changed political situation, the RJD is contesting in 25 seats, the JD(U) in 18 and the Congress in 7 seats.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed nine poll meetings in three days. Out of six districts which went to polls in the third phase, the BJP has put high stakes on four of them — Patna, Saran, Bhojpur and Buxar. The party pushed hard to make a dent into the strongholds of the grand alliance in Vaishali and Nalanda districts.

Lack of excitement

However, unlike the Lok Sabha poll, lack of excitement and enthusiasm was seen among the booth-level BJP workers. At several booths, even in urban Patna districts, no local BJP leaders or grass-root workers were seen encouraging voters to come out of homes to exercise franchise.Earlier, BJP leaders said they were expecting huge turnout of voters in the third phase and “that would make clear which way the wind was blowing in Bihar.” But analysts say “the marginal rise in turnout cannot be called anti-incumbency vote against the Nitish Kumar regime.

BJP leader and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad claimed that the NDA had got “unprecedented and extraordinary response” from voters in third phase. “The voting pattern showed people need change and the NDA would win around 40-42 seats out of 50 in third phase,” said Mr. Prasad. The Nitish-Lalu grand alliance too claimed that it would win most of the seats in the third phase. “The BJP is finished from the poll now… again the women voters have come out more than their male counterparts to vote for Nitish Kumar,” said JD(U) leader Sanjay Singh.

Lalu’s claim

After casting his vote, RJD chief Lalu Prasad said the grand alliance would have a clean sweep across Bihar. He blamed Narendra Modi for playing the “communal card and misleading people.”

The embattled BJP leader and party MP from Patna Sahib, Shatrughan Sinha, blamed local leaders for the poor show of the BJP in the Bihar poll. Despite being included in the list of party’s 40-star campaigners, Mr. Sinha was not invited to address even a single poll meeting in Bihar. “Bihari Babu has been kept out of Bihar,” said Mr. Sinha, coming out of a polling booth.

Earlier, a monkey created panic and bit some voters, including an old woman at a model polling booth in Bakhtiyarpur. The woman, however, returned to vote after receiving first aid.

Conjoined sisters vote

Conjoined sisters Saba and Farha voted for the first time on a single voter ID card at a booth in the Samanpura area of Raza Bazaar in Patna. The EC said polling was boycotted at four places in Saran, Patna and Buxar districts.


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Printable version | Jan 28, 2022 4:11:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/bihar2015/53-turnout-in-third-phase-poll-in-bihar/article7815267.ece

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