Nearly half of the electorate in six Lok Sabha constituencies of Bihar cast their ballot Thursday even as two troopers headed for poll duty were killed in a landmine blast.
"About 45% of the electorate has voted. The polling was slow in the early hours, but picked up later. The final figure of vote percentage will come after the end of polling," Additional Chief Electoral Officer R. Lakshaman said.
A little over 94 lakh voters are eligible to choose from among 80 candidates, including 10 women, who are in the fray in Maoist-affected constituencies.
Prominent candidates in the fray are Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar for Sasaram, Bihar assembly Speaker Uday Narain Choudhary from Jamui, former Kerala governor and ex-Delhi Police chief Nikhil Kumar from Aurangabad, actor-turned-politician Chirag Paswan from Jamui and former union minister Kanti Singh from Karakat.
The state witnessed violence during the poll process.
Two Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers were killed in a landmine blast in Munger district when they were on their way to a polling station in neighbouring Jamui parliamentary constituency.
The blast was triggered by rebels near Sawa Lakh Baba Mandir, close to Bhimbandh forest in Munger, about 175 km from here.
Additional Director General of Police Ravinder Kumar said the injured security personnel were admitted to a hospital.
The Jamui district administration cancelled voting at 12 polling booths.
Security forces also recovered two IEDs from the spot.
Police said a clash between rival groups was reported from Warsaliganj in Nawada in which three people were injured.
Similar incidents also took place at Belaganj in Gaya and Aurangabad.
Police in Chakand in Gaya opened fire in the air to disperse troublemakers who were attempting bogus voting at a polling booth.
Also, five cane bombs - two in Gaya and three in Aurangabad parliamentary constituencies - were recovered from near polling booths.
In another incident, Maoists blasted a state-run school in Bihar's Lakhisarai district, police said, adding three live cane bombs were recovered from the school premises.
"Maoists blasted a school in Lakhisarai to create panic in neighbouring Jamui parliamentary constituency," a district police official said.
Bihar Chief Secretary AK Sinha said 46,000 security personnel, including 22,000 home guards, 74 companies of Bihar Military Police and 163 companies of central para-military forces, have been deployed on election duty.
Sinha said three army helicopters at the disposal of the state government are being used for air surveillance of Maoist-affected areas.