57% turnout in peaceful phase 1 of Bihar polls

Elaborate security arrangements, identification of vulnerable locations helped ensure fair polling, even as politicos continued pre-poll mud slinging

Patna: Bihar witnessed the first phase of its five phased assembly elections on Monday, with 57% of polling recorded on Day 1.

Elaborate security arrangements were made to ensure free and fair polling
Elaborate security arrangements were made to ensure free and fair polling

Umesh Sinha, Deputy Election Commissioner revealed the figures while addressing a press conference.

A large number of people lined up at the booths since early morning to cast their vote amidst reports of malfunctioning EVMs from several parts of the state. Polling was sealed off in the naxal affected Surajgarha and Jamui Districts at 3 p.m.

ccording to reports, polling was by and large peaceful. Over 1.35 crore voters will decide the electoral fortune of 583 candidates, including 54 women in this phase.

More than 6,000 vulnerable locations had been identified in this phase. The observers were asked to visit every vulnerable location for confidence building measures. Intimidators were identified and many preventive actions were taken. More than 10,000 non-bailable warrants (NBWs) were executed. Cash seizure was more than Rs 2.5 crore in this phase. More than 53,000 litres of liquors were seized. There were also two cases of paid news, Sinha added.

Elaborate security arrangements were made to ensure free and fair polling. More than 1,20,000 para military jawans were deployed, besides Bihar Police personnel. The Central Para Military Force manned every polling station. Further, security forces also used drones for air surveillance for the first time in the state’s electoral history.

The 2015 Bihar polls are largely considered as a personality clash of two political stalwarts — CM Nitish Kumar and PM Narendra Modi.

In the run-up to the first phase, Bihar has seen high-voltage campaigns by the PM and BJP president Amit Shah, spearheading the campaign for the NDA. On the other hand, incumbent CM Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav are leading the campaign for the Grand Alliance, and were supported by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

Rs 2.5 crore Cash seized ahead of polling in phase I

1.35 crore No of voters in the first phase of polling

1,20,000 No of para military jawans on poll duty

53k litres Amount of liquor seized by officials

Embarrassing sting operation
In a huge embarrassment for the Nitish Kumar government, just a day before the first phase of polls, a sting video surfaced on Sunday showing senior Bihar minister Awadhesh Prasad Kushwaha purportedly accepting a bribe after which he had to resign.

PM slams Nitish, Lalu
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched a blistering attack against rivals Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad over a sting video of a senior JD-U minister allegedly accepting a bribe, saying  they have “no shame” and accused them of “insulting” Jayprakash Narayan’s (JP) legacy of fighting corruption. He also said leaders of the grand alliance are “scared” and flayed them for approaching the Election Commission to halt the live telecast of his meetings, while the first phase of the assembly poll was underway.

Lalu’s retort
RJD President Lalu Prasad hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “no shame” comment against the grand secular alliance leaders in the wake of a sting video and asked if Modi would resign if BJP failed to win Bihar polls. “Person who did not uphold ‘Lok lajja’ (high moral values in public life) aur ‘Lokhit’ (good of the masses) in front of a tall personality like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is giving lecture on shame,” Prasad said in a tweet.

 

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