Bihar: Polling underway in 5 LS seats in 3rd phase

Patna, May 7 (UNI) Polling began on a peaceful note for the third phase of Lok Sabha elections in five seats in Bihar amid tight security arrangements at 7 am on Tuesday.

A total of 98,60,397 electorate would be exercising their franchise to decide the fate of 54 candidates including three women.

Lok Sabha seats where polling is in progress are — Jhanjharpur, Supaul, Araria, Madhepura and Khagaria.

Sources in the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) said that polling began at 7 am sharp and would continue till 6 pm, barring at some booths where it would end at 4 pm due to security and other reasons.

No untoward incident had been reported from any part of five constituencies where polling was going on, sources added.

A large number of voters had arrived at booths before 7 am to avoid the rush and heat. Women and first time voters were seen enthusiastically voting or waiting for their turns.

There is a straight fight between NDA and INDIA bloc candidates in all five seats. While the NDA comprises of JD(U), BJP and LJP (R), the INDIA bloc has the RJD, CPI(M), and VIP while another of its constituent Congress, but the latter has not fielded any candidates in this phase of Lok Sabha elections.

Of the five seats where polling is in progress, JD (U) had bagged three seats, and the BJP and LJP had won one seat each in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

While JD(U) had won Jhanjharpur, Supaul, and Madhepura seats, the BJP and LJP had won Araria and Khagaria seats, respectively.

INDIA bloc constituents, which had contested as Grand Alliance in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, had drawn blanks barring Congress, which had managed to bag only the Kishanganj seat in Bihar. Polling was held in the Kishanganj seat during the second phase of Lok Sabha elections.

JD(U) has fielded Ramprit Mandal from Jhanjharpur, Dileshwar Kamat from Supaul and Dinesh Chandra Yadav from Madhepura seats–all sitting MPs.

Similarly, BJP has fielded its sitting MP Pradeep Kumar Singh from Araria seat. LJP had fielded Chaudhary Mehboob Ali Qaiser as its candidate from Khagaria seat who emerged victorious in 2019 Lok Sabha elections when Ram Vilas Paswan was president of the party.

After his death in 2020, LJP disintegrated in two parts and Chirag Paswan, son of Ram Vilas Paswan is president of LJP(R) while another faction is headed by Pashupati Kumar Paras, former Union Minister. BJP has virtually recognised LJP(R) as real LJP which has fielded Rajesh Verma as its candidate. Sitting LJP MP from Khagaria Qaiser had joined RJD after Chirag did not entertain his claim over this seat.

On the other hand, RJD has fielded Shahnawaz Alam from Araria, Chandrahas Chaupal from Supaul, Kumar Chandradeep Yadav from Madhepura seat.VIP has fielded Suman Kumar Mahaseth from Jhanjharpur while CPI(M) has fielded Sanjay Kumar Singh from Khagaria seat.

A total of 98,60,397 electorates, comprising 51,29,473 males, 47,30,602 females, and 322 transgenders, would be exercising their franchise to decide the fates of 54 candidates, including 3 women. The number of Centurian voters in the third phase is 2716. All woman-managed booths are 32, while model booths are 45. The number of first time voters is 1,45,482. The highest number of 15 candidates are contesting from Supaul, while the lowest number of only 8 candidates have been fielded in the Madhepura seat. Arrangements for webcasting have been made at 5,039 booths.

Polling would continue till 6 pm at all booths in five constituencies, barring 107 booths in the Mahisi assembly segment of Madhepura and 60 booths in the Simri-Bakhtiarpur assembly segment of Khagaria Lok Sabha seat, where polling would end at 4 pm. More than 55,000 paramilitary forces and 18,000 homeguard jawans have been deployed to ensure free and fair polling.

Polling was earlier conducted in nine of forty seats in the first two phases of the Lok Sabha elections in Bihar on April 19 and April 26.

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