Voting underway in 6th phase of Bihar panchayat polls

Patna: The sixth phase of the Bihar panchayat polls proceeded peacefully Friday amid tight security. Polling is being held in 58 village blocks of 37 districts.

Voting started at 7 a.m. and people were seen queueing up at polling booths despite a boycott call by Maoists, who are active in 11 of the blocks.

According to state election commission sources, people will choose representatives for 28,057 village council posts. Around 51 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise while 91,360 candidates are in the fray.

Additional Director General of Police Rajwardhan Sharma said polling was under way peacefully. He said security forces, including central paramilitary forces, have been deployed to ensure free and fair polls.

"Strict action would be taken against those found trying to either disturb the poll process or attempting to undermine the sanctity of the democratic exercise," he said.

The first round of Bihar`s 10-phase panchayat polls saw a police officer and a woman voter being killed in a Maoist attack in Jamui district. In the second round also, a man was killed. But the third, fourth and fifth phase passed off peacefully except for sporadic incidents of violence.

The 10-phased panchayat polls will end May 28.