Lok Sabha Election 2019: 2% increase in Bihar's voter turnout

With 1.38 lakh voters in eight seats, this was the biggest phase for Bihar so far, and voting for 32 of the 40 constituencies is now over

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A model polling booth in Vaishali constituency

Almost 60% polling was registered in the eight constituencies of northern and eastern Bihar in the penultimate phase of Lok Sabha election, an increase of 2.13% since 2014 when 57.25% votes were cast.

With 1.38 lakh voters in eight seats, this was the biggest phase for Bihar so far, and voting for 32 of the 40 constituencies is now over.

Among the eight constituencies, the maximum turnout was recorded in Paschim Champaran where 63.9% people cast their vote, followed by neighbouring Valmiki Nagar at 63.8%, Vaishali 61.37%, Sheohar 60%, Gopalganj 59.2%, Purvi Champaran 58.7%, Siwan 56.75% and Maharajganj 52.12%.

A total of 127 candidates, including 16 women, were in the fray from the eight constituencies, all of which was won by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on 2014 - seven by the BJP and one by LJP.

Among the prominent faces contesting in this phase are Union Minister Radha Mohan Singh (Purvi Champaran) who is pitted against RLSP greenhorn Akash Kumar Singh, son of Congress leader Akhilesh Singh. Another newcomer in the phase is Shashwat Kedar, grandson of ex-Bihar CM Kedar Pandey and Congress candidate from Valmikinagar, who faces a triangular battle against JD-U's Baidyanath Mahto and BSP's Deepak Yadav, a Harvard alumnus and local industrialist. In fact, the BSP may cut into the votes of the Grand Alliance, in the most of these seats as they share border with or are close to Uttar Pradesh.

An interesting contest will also be witnessed in Siwan where wives of two Bahubalis - RJD's Hena Shahab (Md. Shababuddin's wife) and JD-U's Kavita Singh (wife of Ajay Singh) are fighting it out for the Parliament. In Vaishali, veteran RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, who represented the seat five times, is trying to win it back against ex-MLA and LJP candidate Veena Singh.

While polling was generally peaceful in the state, at one of the booths in Paschim Champaran, the BJP MP Sanjay Jaiswal had to allegedly face protests of some locals who raised slogans against him. His security guards intervened and brought him back to the safety cordon of the police, a source said.

In another unfortunate incident, a polling official Shivendra Kumar, posted in Sheohar constituency died when a stray bullet hit him while a home guard constable was setting up his rifle. "It was an accident, but the home guard has been detained," said Arshad Aziz, the Sheohar district magistrate (DM) cum electoral officer. In Purvi Champaran, a 65-year-old voter died after exercising his franchise and official said prima facie it appeared to be a case of cardiac arrest.

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