Bihar: Polling underway in 5 LS seats in 4th phase

Patna, May 13 (UNI) Polling began on a peaceful note for the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections in five seats in Bihar amid tight security arrangements at 7 am on Monday.

A total of 95.83 lakh electorates would be exercising their franchise to decide the fate of 55 candidates, including Union Ministers Giriraj Singh and Nityanand Rai.

Lok Sabha seats where polling is in progress are — Darbhanga, Ujiarpur, Samastipur, Begusarai, and Munger. Polling began at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm amid fool proof security arrangements.

Sources at the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) said that polling had begun on a peaceful note at all booths based in five Lok Sabha constituencies.

No untoward incident was reported from any part of the constituency where polling was in progress, the source added.

A large number of voters were seen waiting in long queues for their turns at booths to exercise their franchise. Women and first time voters were enthusiastic to cast their votes.

The NDA, comprising the BJP, JD (U), and LJP, had won all these five seats five years back. The BJP has fielded its candidates in three seats, with the JD (U) and LJP in the race in one seat each.

On the other hand, for the INDIA bloc, RJD is contesting in three seats, Congress and CPI are in the fray in one seat each.

Union Minister and senior BJP leader Giriraj Singh is trying his luck from Begusarai seat where he is facing challenge from CPI candidate Awadhesh Kumar Rai. Similarly another BJP stalwart Nityanand Rai, Union Minister of State for Home is contesting from Ujiarpur seat where RJD candidate and former Bihar Minister Alok Kumar Mehta has locked horn with him.

Former JD(U) president Rajeev Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh is pitching against RJD candidate Anita Devi in Munger Lok Sabha seat. She is wife of tainted RJD leader Ashok Mahto against whom a number of criminal cases are pending. Singh is sitting MP from this seat.

In Darbhanga, RJD has fielded former Bihar Minister Lalit Kumar Yadav, while the BJP has reposed faith in its sitting MP Gopal Ji Thakur. There is a straight fight between RJD and BJP.

Similarly, political novice Shambhavi Chaudhary is contesting on an LJP (Ram Vilas) ticket from Samastipur. Congress has fielded Sunny Hazari against Chaudhary. While Chaudhary is the daughter of JD (U) leader Ashok Chaudhary, Hazari is the son of JD (U) leader Maheshwar Hazari. Both Ashok and Maheshwar are ministers in the Nitish cabinet. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had publicly expressed his displeasure over Sunny contesting on Congress ticket against Shambhavi, official candidate of NDA.

The total electorate of 95,83,662 including 50,49,656 males, 45,33,813 females, and 193 third genders, are entitled to press the EVM buttons at 9,447 booths, 32 of which would be managed by women only, while 43 would be model booths. The highest number of 13 candidates is locking horns in Ujiarpur, while the lowest 8 candidates are in the fray in Darbhanga Lok Sabha seat.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won 17 seats, the JD (U) 16 seats, and the and the LJP 6 seats, enabling the NDA to bag 39 of 40 seats in Bihar.

On the other hand, Congress had bagged only one seat, while other constituents of the Grand Alliance, including RJD, had drawn blank. All constituents of the Grand Alliance are contesting as constituents of the India bloc in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

Polling was held in 14 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in the first three phases of the seven-phased Lok Sabha elections in Bihar. The counting of votes would be taken up on June 4.

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