54% voters beat the heat to vote in Bihar (3rd Lead)(5 p.m.)
By  IANS | Updated:  Apr 29, 2019, 06:08 PM
Ignoring heat wave-like condition, nearly 54 per cent voters turned out to cast their vote in Bihar's five Lok Sabha constituencies -- Begusarai, Ujiarpur, Darbhanga, Munger and Samastipur -- till 5 p.m. on Monday, said an official.
"Long queues were seen at polling booths in rural as well as urban pockets of these constituencies despite heat wave-like conditions," the official said. Women queued up in large numbers outside polling booths in the initial three hours of voting, he added.
Voting that started at 7 a.m. will end at 6 p.m. More than 87 lakh voters are eligible to decide the fate of 67 candidates, including some political heavyweight, in this phase of polling.
Union Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Giriraj Singh is being challenged by JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, contesting on Communist Party of India (CPI) ticket, in Begusarai.
The BJP has fielded state unit chief Nityanand Rai from Ujiarpur, where the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) chief and former Minister Upendra Kushwaha is also in the fray.
In Munger, the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) has fielded Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's close aide Lalan Singh against Congress candidate Neelam Devi, wife of Independent MLA Anant Singh.
In Darbhanga, senior Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui is in the fray against BJP's Gopaljee Thakur.
This phase of polling will also decide the fate of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Ramchandra Paswan, brother of LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, in Samastipur.
People at several polling booths boycotted the polls over closure of jute mills.
Heavy security was deployed at all booths and three helicopters were also stationed to provide air cover.
According to officials, the voting was peaceful, except sporadic clashes between supporters of rival parties. In Begusarai, villagers clashed with security forces and pelted stones after being beaten up by the police.
Villagers, in Begusarai and Samastipur, alleged that polling officials forced some voters to cast vote in favour of a particular party candidate.
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