Bihar polls: 12 percent turnout till 9 a.m.

Patna: Around 12 percent polling was recorded on Sunday in the first two hours of fourth phase of the Bihar assembly elections, officials said, adding no incident of violence was reported so far.

The voting was on at 55 constituencies, including 12 affected by Maoists, in the state’s flood-prone belt.

Voters, including a large number of women, queued up at polling stations hours before the start of the fourth phase of elections to cast their votes. Long queues were seen as the voting picked up at the booths.

“Around 12.13 percent of 1,47,39,120 lakh voters eligible to cast their ballot have voted till 9 a.m.,” the official said, adding: “Polling will pick up later like the last three phases.”

As many as 776 candidates in 55 of the 243 assembly constituencies spread over Gopalganj, Siwan, West Champaran, East Champaran, Sheohar, Sitamarhi and Muzaffarpur districts are in the fray in the fourth phase.

Bihar police chief P.K. Thakur told mediapersons here that polling had been peaceful with no report of violence barring minor clashes so far.

Officials said voters in over a dozen villages boycotted polls and shouted slogans against the lack of development.

Five helicopters, drones and 1,163 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed for the polls, additional Chief Electoral Officer R. Lakshaman said.

The polling hours have been reduced to 3 p.m. in four constituencies and to 4 p.m. in other eight constituencies in the sensitive areas, officials said.

The staggered elections to pick a 243-member Bihar assembly will end on November 5. The result will be revealed three days later.