Lok Sabha Polls: First Phase Ends Peacefully; 53% Voters’ Turnout

Polling at a booth in Nawada on Thursday.

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Patna: With threat of Maoist violence looming over everyone’s head, the first phase of Lok Sabha elections in the four Naxal-hit constituencies in Bihar passed off without any untoward incident though the voters’ turnout was relatively low at 53.06%, officials said.

Polls were held in Gaya, Aurangabad, Nawada, and Jamui – all Naxal strongholds – amid very tight security with more than 43,000 security personnel deployed to maintain peace and hold fair election at all booths. In many polling stations, however, villagers boycotted the poll in protest against lack of development in their block and panchayat.

Despite low voter turnout, officials said it was slightly higher than the 2014 Parliamentary polls by nearly three percent. The highest turnout was recorded in Gaya with 56% while the lowest turnout was witnessed in Aurangabad at little under 50%.

Police had earlier recovered three live bombs from Gaya and Aurangabad that were successfully diffused by the members of the bomb squad.

Prominent among those whose fate is to be decided in the first phase of the seven-phased poll
include former Bihar Chief Minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) leader Jitan Ram Manjhi (Gaya) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Chirag Paswan (Jamui)

Second phase of the Lok Sabha polls are to be held on April 18 at five constituencies in Bihar including Kishanganj, Katihar, Purnia, Bhagalpur, and Banka.

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