Patna: The second phase of staggered assembly elections in Bihar ended yesterday, with about 55 per cent of the 8.58 million electorate voting in 32 of the 243 constituencies, officials said.

A woman flaunts her inked finger after casting her vote.  PIC/PTI

The polling was peaceful as millions defied Maoist threats and thronged to more than 8,800 polling centres across six districts to decide the fate of 456 candidates, including former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi. The main battle for power is between the BJP-led four-party alliance and the Grand Alliance of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

The battle for Bihar, which began on Monday and ends on November 5, and whose outcome will be known on November 8, is the biggest popularity test in the country after the Delhi election in February in which AAP routed the BJP. As many as 23 of the 32 constituencies, where balloting took place, were known Maoist hubs. While polling in 11 of them ended at 3 pm and in the remaining 12 it concluded by 4 pm, enabling officers to leave the area before sunset.

Additional Chief Electoral (ACE) officer R Lakshmanan said that the polling was slow initially but picked up later. He claimed that once again, women voted in large numbers. As the day progressed, the queues outside polling booth turned serpentine read reports from various constituencies. To ensure peaceful voting, five helicopters, drones and 993 companies of paramilitary forces were deployed across constituencies.

32
constituencies went to polls yesterday

8,800
Polling stations were there

456
Candidates contested in the second phase of the elections