Around 15 per cent polling was recorded in the first three hours in seven Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar where voting is on today in the third phase. There was report of delay in polling in 20 booths in Katihar due to problems in EVM machines, election office sources said.
In Purnea, an elderly woman who was the first to cast her vote in a booth was presented with flower by the poll official to motivate voters. BJP star contestant Shahnawaz Hussain took a round of polling stations in Bhagalpur to find out if there were any irregularities. Stakes are high for the party today as five of the seven seats were won by the party last time in 2009. One each were held by rivals Congress and JD(U). The five held by BJP are Araria, Katihar, Purnia, Bhagalpur and Banka. Kisangnaj was won by Congress and Supaul had gone to JD(U).
Bhagalpur, where star contestant BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain is in the fray, saw 12 per cent polling till 10 am, an Election Commission statement said. It was 17 per cent in Kisanganj, 20 per cent in Araria, 12 per cent in Katihar, 15 per cent in Purnia, 16 per cent in Banka and 10 per cent in Supual. NCP General Secretary Tariq Anwar and RJD's Mohammad Taslimuddin are the other prominent contestants today. A total 108 contestants are in the fray in the seven seats. Over 1.4 crore voters are expected to cast their vote in 9840 polling booths in the seven constituencies situated in Seemanchal area bordering Nepal and Bangladesh.
By-poll in the Assembly seat of Basie in Purnea and Kochadhaman in Kisanganj saw 15.47 per cent votes cast in the first three hours. A total of 57,000 security personnel, belonging to 221 companies of security forces, including 147 of central armed forces like CRPF, ITBP, BSF, CISF and RPF are on duty for smooth conduct of polls. In two assembly segments Katoria and Belhar of Banka constituency voting would be held till 4 PM due to Maoist threat in the area.