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60% voting in first phase of Bihar panchayat election

Voters queue up to cast their vote for panchayat elections in Jehanabad in Bihar on Friday.  

The first phase of the panchayat election in Bihar passed off peacefully on Friday amid webcast and biometric attendance of the voters to maintain transparency and avoid bogus voting.

The 11-phase polling is scheduled to be held from September 24 to December 12 with huge deployment of security personnel and officials.

The first phase poll for three-tier Panchayati Raj Institutions was held at 2,119 polling stations across 12 blocks of 10 districts with 60% voters’ turn out. “The first phase passed off peacefully and voting was held in free and fair manner. The voters’ turn out was also encouraging,” said State Election Commissioner Deepak Prasad.

On incidents of violence, he said, “Complaints of incidents of clashes and other discrepancies were negligible due to measures like webcasting and biometric verification of voters’ identity.”

EVMs, ballot papers

In the first phase, polling was conducted for 4,646 posts for which 15,078 candidates were in the fray in 151 panchayats. Electronic Voting Machines too were used for the first time in the poll along with ballot papers. Some reports of EVMs not working had come but they were rectified, said Mr. Prasad.

However, reports of huge consignment of illegal liquor bottles seized ahead of the poll had also come. As many as 12,065 illegal liquor manufacturing units were destroyed in different districts while 5,46,143 litres of illicit liquor was seized. Besides, 362 illegal arms and 1,606 cartridges too were recovered.

“Liquor and money do play a major role in Panchayat elections in Bihar but this time it was not like previous polls,” said Ankit Sharma of Jehanabad district where voters’ turn out was 56.69%. On the issues dominating the voters, Sanket Mishra, a sexagenarian farmer of Rohtas district, told The Hindu over phone, “The dominating issues were corruption at local level and crime along with sale of illegal liquor in villages.”

Rohtas witnessed maximum number of voters’ turn out (62.50%). Polling was also held in Kaimur, Aurangabad, Gaya, Nawada, Arwal, Banka, Munger and Jamui districts.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 3:05:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/60-voting-in-first-phase-of-bihar-panchayat-election/article36676138.ece

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