Voters showed rare enthusiasm amidst Covid-19 pandemic as the second phase of polling passed peacefully in Bihar today.
The 94 assembly seats that went to poll on Tuesday recorded 53.51 per cent turnout and the figure was likely to go up, the Election Commission said.
Initially, the polling percentage remained sluggish with just around eight per cent voters casting their votes in the first two hours but it slowly gained momentum.
By 5 pm, the voting percentage touched an impressive 51.80 per cent with maximum voting percentage reported from the rural areas. While Muzaffarpur, Begusarai and Khagaria districts took the lead with polling over 57 per cent, Patna recorded the lowest polling at 46.57 percent.
Since early morning voters riding boats, cycles, pushcarts and also on foot were seen going to the booths and queuing for their turn. At one polling booth in Patna, a young girl was seen carrying her grandmother on a cycle while in Khagaria, an elderly villager reached the booth on a pushcart.
A grim aspect was how voters again ignored safety norms with impunity. With today’s polling, the fate of several leaders is now sealed in the EVMs. They include Grand Alliance’s CM candidate Tejashwi Yadav, his elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav, their relative Chandrika Rai and at least four NDA ministers.
Today’s polling on a total 94 seats spread over 17 districts is pivotal since they are areas which have large migrant population. Also, these are the areas where flooding caused massive destruction. Many voters said they wanted a “good government” who could look into their concern and shape the future of their children but their replies were quite diplomatic.
However, one factor that has dominated elections this time is that of employment raised by the opposition Grand Alliance’s chief ministerial candidate Tejashwi Yadav. In fact, he had set the agenda for election this time and never allowed the ruling NDA to divert from the real issue despite their constant efforts. He has promised 10 lakh jobs to the youths should his alliance come to power.
The NDA leaders, especially from the BJP, made unsuccessful efforts to bring controversial issues in the poll campaign such as abrogation of Article 370, CAA, Ram temple, 1947 Partition.
Apart from these, Prime Minister Narendra Modi constantly raised the issue of “Jungle Raj” and continued repeating it at his all 12 election rallies in Bihar and tried hard to whip up the fear of “Jungle Raj” if the opposition alliance was allowed to come to power. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s campaign, on the other hand, focussed his campaign over “Jungle Raj”, parivarwad, corruption and Tejashwi’s inexperience.
The CM faced an embarrassing situation today when the people threw onions and potatoes at him during a rally in Madhubani. A visibly angry Kumar stopped his speech midway and said whosoever wanted to throw things at him were welcome. The masses are said to be seething over rising inflation and losing jobs as a result of lockdown.