64% turnout in first phase of municipal poll

PATNA: Over 64% of voters exercised their franchise in the first phase of urban local body (ULB) election held in 35 districts across the state on Sunday.

The ULB election was conducted in seven municipal corporations, 31 municipal councils and 63 nagar panchayats with 13,027 candidates trying their luck. The number of female candidates was more than the male contestants. Altogether 6,890 female candidates were in the fray against 6,137 male candidates in the first phase of election on Sunday.

According to official sources, altogether 49,88,987 voters, including 22,62,487 females, exercised their franchise. Thirty-one complaints were registered with State Election Commission and all the cases were disposed of.

State election commissioner Asok Kumar Chauhan said the election passed off peacefully barring some stray incidents. Altogether 769 people were arrested and 319 vehicles seized.

An elderly man, Vikram Rai, whose son Dharmendra Rai is contesting from Marhowrah nagar panchayat in Saran district, succumbed to his injuries after he was allegedly thrashed by members of the opposition group.
At least 12 policemen were injured after the voters of Roop Nagar village under Saharsa police station pelted stones at them for allegedly working as agents of a particular candidate.

Policemen resorted to lathicharge in which around 12 villagers were seriously injured. The villagers alleged that the police had fired several rounds to disperse the unruly mob. However, SDPO Subodh Kumar Biswas refuted reports of police firing. He said few anti-social elements were trying to disturb the poll process and had damaged the EVM machines of polling booth number 118 and 119 of ward 40. According to Biswas, heavy stone-pelting by the mob resulted in serious injury to a cop, Chandan Sah, who was hit in the right eye and was hospitalised. “His condition is critical,” said the SDPO.
In ward number 22 of Saharsa Municipal Council, a clash between the supporters of two candidates broke out at Mahavir Chowk. Ghanshyam Choudhary, a candidate, accused the district administration officials of working in support of a candidate said to be close to a Bihar minister. On the other hand, supporters of a candidate belonging to minority community alleged that the poll officials were discouraging and harassing them.
The SEC announced fresh election in ward 18 of Ara Municipal Corporation after one of the contestants, Bhagmani Devi, died before the election was about to start. Fresh election will also be conducted in booth number 1 of ward 11 of Samastipur Municipal Council and ward number 3 of Naugachhia Nagar panchayat.
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