Loudspeakers fell silent this evening with campaigning coming to an end for the second phase voting to seven Lok Sabha seats in Bihar on April 17. Tight security arrangements have been put in place as many of the constituencies fall in Maoist-hit areas.
Voting in Patna and nearby districts would decide the fate of 117 candidates, including actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha, former Home Secretary R K Singh, Lalu Prasad's eldest daughter Misa Bharti and her two uncles Ramkripal Yadav and Ranjan Yadav. A total of 11,85,07,86 electors would exercise their franchise in 11,846 polling stations in Patna Sahib, Nalanda, Patliputra, Jehanabad, Munger, Ara and Buxar Parliamentary Constituencies.
Keeping up the BJP momentum, its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi addressed rallies at Jehanabad, Ara and Bikram in Patliputra seats on April 10. BJP veteran L K Advani made his maidan poll campaign in Bihar by addressing rallies at Banka and Katihar on April 14.
Cinestar Shatrughan Sinha, seeking re-election from Patna Sahib on BJP ticket, mainly campaigned for himself conducting a large number of rallies and road shows. His Congress rival and Bhojpuri actor Kunal Singh worked hard to give him a challenge on the seat in the state capital.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad, Ramvilas Paswan and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi criss crossed constituencies to garner support for their parties. Chief Secretary A K Sinha told reporters that a total of 42,600 security personnel would be deployed for smooth conduct of the polls. As in the first phase of polls in six seats in naxal-hit areas on April 10, two helicopters would be in service in the second phase of voting also.
Accompanied by Director General of Police Abhyanand, Sinha said 152 companies of central forces and 74 Bihar Military police would be on duty on April 17 polling. As per Election Commission decision, voting in seven Maoist-hit Assembly constituencies would end at 4 pm while in the rest it would be conducted till 6 pm.
The seven Assembly constituencies that would witness curtailed voting time are in naxal-affected Munger, Lakhisarai, Jehanabad and in rural Patna comprising areas in Patliputra Parliamentary constituency.