The third phase of polling for 78 seats in 15 districts in Bihar ended on Saturday with some scattered incidents of violence. The Election Commission of India recorded 57.70 percent voting till 6 p.m. The calculation of the voting percentage is still underway in some of the polling booths.
A person named Beni Singh, brother of RJD supporter Bittu Singh, was gunned down in Damdaha area of Purnea district. Jitendra Kumar, ADG headquarters of Bihar police, said that the incident was reported in Purnea district and an investigation is currently underway. It has nothing to do with the election, he added.
Beni Singh was working as an observer for the RJD candidate in Damdaha and was on his way to monitor election proceedings in Sarsi village. He was attacked by three to four persons, killing him on the spot.
Kumar said a firing incident took place at booth number 282 in Damdaha in Purnea at 10.30 a.m. on Saturday. He said the firing was resorted to by para military forces in self defence after a large number of anti-social elements created a ruckus at a polling booth in Damdaha.
An FIR was registered against a candidate Sarfaraj Alam in Jokihat police station under sections 171F and 188. He was accused of violating the model code of conduct at a polling booth.
Kumar informed that 439 illegal firearms were seized during the third phase and over 1,334 illegal firearms were seized in all the three phases. Besides, the police also asked the licensed arms holders to deposit their weapons and a total of 25,449 weapons were deposited.
The police also arrested 5,112 persons under the Crime Control Act in the run up to the elections and during all the three phases. A huge quantity of illegal liquor was also seized.
The Bihar police registered 384 criminal cases in the third phase and 880 FIRs in all the three phases.
H R Srinivasa, the chief electoral officer of Bihar, expressed satisfaction over the generally peaceful polling in all the three phases.
“This election has significant importance due to timing. It was held in the time of corona with Bihar being a densely populated state," Srinivasa said.
Compared to 2015, Srinivasa said there was a 45 percent increase in polling booths in 2020. In the last assembly election, there were 73,000 polling booths which now went up to 1.06 lakh. Accordingly, the counting of votes is expected to get delayed on November 10.
“We have also faced challenges in enrolling returning migrant labourers in the corona phase. Around 30 lakh migrant labourers returned from various states to Bihar. As per an estimate, around 18 lakh such voters were enrolled in the voters list. We deployed over 5.5 lakh polling officers to conduct successful electoral operations," Srinivasa said.