About 45 to 46 per cent of the 11.7 million voters exercised their franchise at 12,786 polling booths in 57 of 243 assembly constituencies on Sunday in the third phase of Bihar assembly elections, which passed off largely peaceful.
Officials in the state election department said reports received suggest that the voting percentage is more or less similar to that of the first and second phase of polls that recorded 46 per cent polling in October.
Unlike polls in the past that were marred by large-scale violence and booth grabbings the voting in 57 out of the 243 assembly constituencies spread in 11 districts was mostly trouble free, thanks to the deployment of a large number of central paramilitary forces.
Authorities have made elaborate security arrangements to ensure trouble-free polling. Shoot-at-sight orders have been issued against troublemakers.The fate of state Rashtriya Janata Dal president Abdul Bari Siddiqui from Bahera, his Janata Dal-United counterpart Bijendra Prasad Yadav from Supaul and state Samajwadi Party chief Deonath Yadav from Phulparas were sealed in the voting machines.
Over 50 people, including state Bahujan Samaj Party general secretary, its two party candidates and a Samajwadi Party candidate were arrested during the polls. Election Commission Special Adviser K J Rao, who visited several constituencies to personally monitor the polls ordered registration of a first information report against a Lok Janshakti Party candidate Aqil Ahmad in Mahishi constituency for going around with his supporters on motorcycles.
B Mukti Bodh, the Bahujan Samaj Party candidate for the Simri Bakhtiarpur seat in Saharsa district, was arrested by the Border Security Force for moving around with supporters in violation of prohibitory orders, sources said.