Today's Paper

48% polling in Bihar

J. Venkatesan

NEW DELHI: An estimated 48 per cent of the 8.86 million electorate voted in 41 constituencies in the fourth and final phase of elections to the 243-member Bihar Assembly on Saturday.

Deputy Election Commissioner Anand Kumar told presspersons here that polling was peaceful. The average polling percentage for all four phases was 47 against 46.37 in the February elections. The figures for the first three phases were 44.84, 47.57 and 46.82 per cent.

About 80 per cent of the electorate was covered by photo identity cards. The voters were allowed to exercise their franchise on the basis of their identity cards and other documents. The highlight of Saturday's polling was the large turnout by women, who voted fearlessly despite the intimidatory tactics adopted by miscreants in some booths.

Mr. Anand Kumar said a total of 56,144 electronic voting machines were used in the elections. No damage to the machines was reported in any of the polling stations in the fourth phase.

Central paramilitary forces were deployed in almost all booths. A total of 322 persons, including two candidates, were arrested. Muneshwar Choudhry, Independent, and Kamrul Haq, Samajwadi Party candidate, were held on charges of intimidating voters.

Firecrackers were burst near two booths in the Danapur constituency. Polling, however, was not affected and there was no report of any loss or damage to life and property.

Border sealed

Bihar's border with Uttar Pradesh was sealed. A total of 3,980 digital cameras were installed in sensitive booths to prevent bogus voting. Repoll, if any, would be held on November 21. Counting will be taken up on November 22 and the results are expected the same day.

K.Balchand reports from Patna:

The police ordered the arrest of Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Shubash Yadav, brother-in-law of Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, for allegedly violating externment orders and being present in Gopalganj on Friday night. Chandrika Rai, RJD candidate in Parsa, was also arrested. Mr. Lalu Prasad and Janata Dal (U) leader Nitish Kumar cast their votes in Patna and Bakhtiarpur.