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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Over 58% polling in Bihar LS phase 2


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Patna: Scorching heat appears to have affected polling percentage during the second phase of Lok Sabha elections in five seats in Bihar, as only 58.58 percent of the electorate exercised their franchise compared to 62.92 percent in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which is 4.34 percent less this year.

Bihar Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) H R Srinivas told the media that 58.58 percent polling was recorded in the five seats during the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections. Polling percentage was 62.92 in the same five seats during Lok Sabha elections in Bihar in 2019, he added.

“Given 5.24 percent less polling in four seats due to scorching heat, during the first phase of Lok Sabha elections in Bihar compared to the last general elections in 2019, polling duration which was from 7 AM to 4 PM at several booths, was extended till 6 PM like other booths where normal duration was from 7 AM to 6 PM”, Srinivas said adding that decision was taken to improve the polling percentage. Barring 102 polling booths in Katoria and 148 polling booths in Naxal affected Belhar assembly segments of Banka Lok Sabha seat, where polling had ended at 4 PM, electorate exercised their franchise till 6 PM in the rest polling stations of five constituencies, he stated.

The CEO said the electorate had boycotted polling at 8 booths in the Amour assembly segment of the Kishanganj seat, 2 booths in the Gopalpur assembly segment of the Bhagalpur seat, and 1 booth in the Sultanganj assembly segment of the Banka seat. They had boycotted polling due to some local reasons, he pointed out.

Srinivas said basic facilities like shade, drinking water, and wheelchairs were provided by the administration to enable the electorate to exercise their franchise without facing any difficulty. Number of model polling stations was 37 while the number of all women-managed booths was 29, he informed.

Despite repeated appeals made by the Election Commission, celebrities, and top leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, the polling percentage in Bihar remained lower than the polling percentage of the last general elections.

Tight security arrangements were made at all booths in five constituencies where polling was held. A total of 42,000 security forces and 18,600 home guard jawans were deployed to ensure peaceful polling.

Constituencies, where polling was held, are–Kishanganj, Katihar, Purnea, Bhagalpur, and Banka. Seats where polling was held on April 19 during the first phase of Lok Sabha elections are Gaya, Aurangabad, Nawada and Jamui. Polling was held in nine seats during first two phases of a phased Lok Sabha elections.

A total of 50 candidates are in the fray in five Lok Sabha seats including three females. Former union minister Tarique Anwar is trying his luck on a Congress ticket from the Katihar seat while former Bihar Minister Beema Bharti who had recently deserted JD(U) to join RJD is contesting from the Purnea Lok Sabha seat.

Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav who had merged his party JAP with Congress in anticipation of contesting on a Congress ticket from Purnea is in the electoral fray as an Independent from this seat. Similarly, former leader of the Congress legislature party in Bihar Assembly Ajit Sharma is contesting from Bhagalpur Lok Sabha seat. Sitting Congress MP Mohammad Jawed is again trying his luck from Kishanganj’s seat.

Of five seats, where polling was held, four seats are in the kitty of JD(U) while one seat is held by Congress. As per seat sharing among constituents of NDA, all five seats are being contested by JD(U) in the second phase of elections. On the other hand, constituents of the INDIA bloc–Congress has fielded its three candidates while RJD has fielded two candidates in the second round of the electoral battle. Congress has fielded its its candidates in Kishanganj, Katihar, and Bhagalpur while RJD has fielded its candidates in Banka and Purnea seats.

In 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP had bagged 17 seats, JD(U) 16, LJP 6, and Congress 1 seat. RJD, the major opposition party in the Assembly, had drawn blank in the Last Lok Sabha elections.

The counting of votes will be taken up on June 4, 2024.

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