Bihar recorded a voter turnout of 55.22% till 5 pm in the third and final phase of Assembly elections on Saturday, according to the Election Commission of India. Voting was held in 78 constituencies in the state where as many as 2.34 crore people are exercising their franchise to elect from 1,204 candidates, who are in the fray in this phase.

The poll commission said the figure is likely to increase. The elections in the state began on October 28 with nearly 55% turnout across 71 seats, while 94 seats in the second phase recorded over 53% turnout on November 5.

A few prominent candidates in the phase include former Union minister Sharad Yadav’s daughter, Bharatiya Janata Party’s leader and Urban Development Minister Suresh Kumar Sharma contesting from Muzaffarpur, Niraj Kumar Singh, cousin of actor Sushant Singh Rajput from the Chhatapur seat, Congress’s Bihariganj candidate Subhashini Sharad Yadav and Janata Dal United leader and Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary contesting from Sarairanjan, among others, according to NDTV.

Many of these areas where voting is taking place fall in the Kosi-Seemanchal region.

The National Democratic Alliance, and the Grand Alliance – the coalition of opposition parties – will be fighting besides various All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen candidates who are contesting from Muslim-dominated seats. Jan Adhikar Party, led by former MP Pappu Yadav, is also looking to leave a mark in the polls. The party will be targeting the Yadav community, which is also a vote bank for the RJD as well.

A bye-election was also necessitated in Valmiki Nagar where BJP’s Baidyanath Mahato has died. The seat will witness the contest between Mahato’s son Sunil Kumar and Congress candidate Pravesh Kumar Mishra, a journalist-turned-politician

People construct bridge to cast votes

In Muzaffarpur, voters had to construct a temporary bridge in order to reach the polling station to cast their votes. “There was no bridge to cross the water stream,” a local resident told ANI. “We constructed this bridge for easy movement of people. We wanted maximum people to cast their vote.”

Presiding Officer dies of heart attack in Muzaffarpur

Kedar Rai, a presiding officer posted at a polling centre in Muzaffarpur district’s Katra Block died of heart attack while on duty on Friday morning, reported The Times of India. Rai was employed with the irrigation department of the state and his body has been sent for post-mortem.

PM Modi, CM Nitish Kumar urge people to vote

Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged voters to participate in the election in huge numbers. “Today is the third phase elections in the Bihar Assembly polls,” he tweeted. “I request all voters to participate in this holy festival of democracy in greater numbers and set a new voting record. And yes, pay attention to wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing.”

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also made a similar appeal. “One vote of yours would keep up the pace of development in Bihar,” he tweeted.

From the Opposition camp, Mahagathbandhan’s chief ministerial candidate Tejashwi Yadav tweeted saying: “Cast your vote for a bright future, all-round development and systemic change in Bihar.”

Lok Janshakti Party chief Chirag Paswan continued his attacks on Nitish Kumar, saying he will never become a chief minister again, according to ANI. He said that he believes his party’s performance in the polls would be good as people were connecting with LJP’s ‘Bihar first, Bihari first’ motto.

Covid situation in control: CEC

The election in the state is being held amid the coronavirus pandemic. Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Thursday, however, said that the situation was in control so far. “There was no dearth of sceptics, no dearth of cynics, no dearth of extreme cynics who were making doomsday predictions for us… But here we are so far in a reasonably good shape,” he said.

The results for all 243 seats will be declared on November 10.