Large voter turn out in final phase of Bihar polls
Patna: Tens of thousands of people queued up at polling stations on Thursday to vote in the fifth and final round of the staggered Bihar assembly elections.
Bihar police chief P.K. Thakur said that so far polling is peaceful with no report of violence, barring minor clashes between rivals.
The turn out was recorded at 11.13 percent in the first hour of ballotting.
Voting also took place in some of the state's most backward pockets notorious for poverty, illiteracy as well as migration.
Stray incidents of clashes were reported between rival groups. At some places, the electronic voting machines malfunctioned. Apart from that, it was a smooth exercise.
Officials said that voters in over a dozen villages have boycotted polls and shouted slogans against the lack of development.
Five helicopters, drones and central paramilitary forces have been deployed at all polling booths for the polls, Additional Chief Electoral Officer R. Lakshaman said.
"Initially queues were small. Now voters are seen standing in long queues outside polling booths," an official of the chief electoral office here said.
Voting began at 7 a.m. and will end at 5 p.m.
About 1.55 crore voters will be eligible to decide the political fate of 827 candidates in this phase in seven districts -- Kishanganj, Purnea, Araria and Katihar in Seemanchal region, and Saharsa, Madhepura and Supaul in Kosi region.
This phase is crucial for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his allies, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and the Congress, as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA in the keen battle to control the 243-seat Bihar assembly.