PATNA: Queues began to form at polling stations across Bihar’s seven parliamentary constituencies that went to vote Thursday.An official of the state electoral department said around 15 percent electorate cast ballot during the morning hours.“So far, polls are peaceful with no report of violence,” he said.
Over 11 million voters, including more than five million women, get to choose from among a total of 117 candidates who are in the fray in the second phase of polling in the state.
The official said voting was underway in Buxar, Ara, Nalanda, Jehanabad, Munger, Patliputra and Patna Sahib.These seats are witnessing triangular contests unlike in the last polls.Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi, senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, and former union minister C.P. Thakur were among the political leaders who cast their ballots in Patna.
Lalu’s daughter Misa Bharti is contesting from Patliputra constituency in Patna as RJD candidate.
Among those prominent in the fray are actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha — popularly known as Bihari babu and Shotgun; former union home secretary R.K. Singh; real estate baron Anil Kumar Sharma; former Bihar Police chief Asish Ranjan Sinha; former minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey; and Rajiv Ranjan alias Lalan Singh, a friend of Nitish Kumar.These elections are crucial for Nitish Kumar and his JD-U as also his bete noire RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
For the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the stakes are even higher as its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi hopes to get the mandate to form the next government at the Centre.