The first phase of polling for the Bihar assembly elections passed off peacefully on Wednesday as an estimated 54.26 per cent of nearly 2.15 crore eligible voters exercised their franchise, marginally lower than in 2015, as the coronavirus scare failed to impact the turnout.
The polls were held in 71 constituencies spread across 16 districts amid tight security and strict COVID-19 regulations in place.
According to the Election Commission’s Voter Turnout App, the provisional polling percentage was 54.26 that was updated till 10 PM.
The Chief Electoral Officer’s office said in Patna that the voter turnout in the 2015 election in these 16 districts was 54.75 per cent.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said in Delhi that the voter turnout in phase one was 54.94 per cent in the 2015 assembly polls, while in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections the corresponding figure was 53.54 per cent.
Election Commission secretary-general Umesh Sinha told reporters in Delhi that the “projected” voter turnout is expected to exceed the last assembly and the Lok Sabha poll figures.
This was the first major poll held in the country amid the raging Covid-19 pandemic and the poll time increased by an hour till 6 pm to allow suspected or confirmed coronavirus patients to vote in the last hour.
Polling went beyond 6 PM in some constituencies, while the voting hours were curtailed in Naxal-affected areas and ended at 4 pm after beginning at 7 am.