PATNA: Baring stray incidents of malfunctioning of EVMs and minor scuffles at few polling booths, the byelection to one Lok Sabha and five assembly constituencies in Bihar passed off peacefully on Monday.
An estimated 49.90% voters exercised their franchise in Samastipur Lok Sabha seat and Kishanganj, Simri Bakhtiarpur, Nathnagar, Belhar and Daraunda assembly constituencies and sealed the fate of altogether 51 candidates in the EVM. Among the candidates is Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan’s nephew Prince Raj, who is contesting from Samastipur. The counting will take place on October 24.
Altogether 15 persons were detained in Siwan and Banka districts as a preventive measure while a woman was knocked to death by the vehicle of a sector magistrate near Beharbari village in Belhar assembly constituency. The woman, Muniya Devi (45), was returning home after casting her vote when the vehicle knocked her down. She died on the spot. State’s chief electoral officer H R Srinivasa told TOI that around 59.18% polling was recorded in Kishanganj, which was the highest among the five assembly constituencies. Daraunda reported the lowest 42.2%. Simri Bakhtiapur reported 52.5% voting, while Nathnagar and Belhar had turnout of 43.2% and 53.49% respectively. Around 45% polling was recorded in Samastipur Lok Sabha seat, which is 15% less than the votes cast in the 2019 general election, Srinivasa said.
Two election agents were arrested on the charges of keeping propaganda materials in their bags at Ghurghat Middle school polling booth under Siswan police station in Daraunda constituency. Similarly, a minor clash was reported from Sherpur in Siwan, the CEO said. Altogether Rs29.15 lakh in cash, 21,000 litres of illicit liquor and 34.5kg of ganja were seized by different government agencies since the bypoll process began in the state. Police seized 45 firearms, 77 cartridges and one explosive material, he said.
Of the total 51 candidates in the fray, four each are fielded by JD(U) and RJD and one each by BJP and LJP. The CPI has put up three candidates while Congress has fielded two.
(Inputs by Shanti Jain in Samastipur)