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47 per cent turnout in third phase in Bihar
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Voters wait to cast votes during the third phase of the Bihar Assembly elections in Darbhanga on Sunday.
Voters wait to cast votes during the third phase of the Bihar Assembly elections in Darbhanga on Sunday. PTI
photo

Patna, November 13
As promised by Chief Secretary G. S. Kang, barring a few minor incidents, the state witnessed peaceful and violence-free third phase of polling amidst tight security in 57 constituencies spread over 11 districts today.

Nearly 47 per cent of polling was reported from different parts against a total electorate of about 1.2 crore who today sealed the fate of 494 candidates in the EVMs.

The polling percentage was comparatively low than first and second phase, contrary to the expectations of little higher percentage because of the return of migrant labourers to their native places in the state on the occasions of the recent Chhath and Id festivals.

There were 100 per cent deployment of central paramilitary forces in all 12,786 polling stations.

Unlike the first and second phase of polling, the third phase posed greater challenges before the Election Commission because of the long 643-km Indo-Nepal border in Bihar having the presence of the Maoists and its common borders with Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal from where law breakers could sneak to disturb the poll process.

The borders with Nepal , as well as UP and West Bengal were sealed.

While the Royal Nepal army guarded their side of the border to prevent the Maoists to sabotage the poll process, the Shastra Suraksha Bal (SSB) guarded the Indian side not to allow the miscreants to commit violence and then take shelter in the neighbouring country.

The Indian Air Force Helicopter kept aerial surveillance and the BSF contingents patrolled the rivers connecting India and Nepal.

Despite poll boycott call by the Maoists, in areas like east and west Champaran, about 40 per cent polling was recorded during the day without a single incident of violence.

State Chief Electoral Officer N.K. Sinha said that three candidates , one each from the RJD, the BSP and the JD (U), were arrested today for violating the model of conduct.

The candidates were Rana Randhir Singh (RJD), Raju Singh (JD-U) and Prabhat Ranjan Singh (BSP).

The commission also booked the Union Minister and RJD leader M.A. Fatmi for violation of model of conduct when the SP, Darbhanga, Mr O.N. Bhaskar, ordered his arrest yesterday under Section 188, IPC, when the minister's campaign vehicle was found moving in the area even after 24 hours of the end of the official campaigning period on Friday.

The commission also did not allow the former Union Minister and BJP leader Syed Shahanawaj Hussian and Union Minister of State for Food and Agriculture and RJD leader, Mohammed Taslimuddin, to stay within the limits of Kishanganj during the polling today.

According to DGP Ashish Ranjan Sinha, there were reports of minor scuffles in areas like Sitamaiand Madhepura between rival gangs leading to few injuries.

While the state BJP President Sushil Modi and JD (U) spokesman Sambhu Srivastava congratulated the commission for peaceful polling, the RJD spokesman Sivanad Tiwari charged the commission with harassing its candidates.

Earlier, the third phase of polling was supposed to cover 72 seats. But in view of security reasons, the commission had staggered the third phase of polling into two parts.

While election was held in 57 seats today, in remaining 15 seats the polling will be held on November 16.

The fourth and final phase of polling in 41 seats will be held on November 19, following the counting of votes on November 22 to end the 81-day polling exercise in the state, perhaps the longest ever such exercise in any part of the country.

New Delhi: The Deputy Election Commissioner, Mr Anand Kumar, told newspersons here on Sunday that 131 persons were held for violating prohibitory orders. He said there was 47 per cent polling which was peaceful.

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Union minister Fatmi arrested

Darbhanga, November 13
Union minister and RJD leader M A A Fatmi was arrested for alleged violation of the model code. He was later released on bail. SP, Darbhanga, O.N. Bhaskar had ordered arrest of Fatmi after his vehicle was found roaming in the town with banners and posters of RJD leaders. PTI

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