An estimated 14 per cent voters cast their votes in the early hours of polling in 42 assembly constituencies in Bihar on Monday. To disrupt polling, Maoists triggered a blast in Betia forest and unidentified persons set off four explosions in Danapur. Fourteen per cent of the voters had exercised their franchise till 10 am.
Director General of Police Neelmani said Maoists had triggered a blast near a bridge on the Chakai-Jamui main road in Betia jungle, but no one was injured. The Maoists fled after Border Security Force commandos retaliated, he said. In another incident, unidentified persons set off four bombs near booth nos. 56 and 57 in Danapur, but no one was injured, police sources said.
Defects in EVMs were initially reported from some booths in Bhagalpur and Banka districts, but were promptly attended to, official sources said. Meanwhile, FIRs were lodged against Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi for entering a booth to cast their votes with securitymen in violation of the model code of conduct.
The FIRs were registered by Block Development Officer of Digha Ashok Kumar with the Patna airport police station, sub-divisional magistrate-cum-returning officer for Digha assembly constituency Maqsood Alam told PTI.
The couple were accompanied by son Tejpratap and daughter Ragini. Nearly 10.04 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 568 candidates, including 58 women, in the fourth phase of polling in Bihar.
Voting is being held in Maoist hit areas of Alauli, Suryagarha, Tarapur, Jamalpur, Katoria, Belhar, Sinkandra, Jamui, Jhajha, Teghra, Bachwara and Chakai between 7 am and 3 pm.
Prominent contestants include Bharatiya Janata Party stalwarts and ministers Ashwini Kumar Choubey (Bhagalpur), Nand Kishore Yadav (Patna Sahib) Ramnarayan Mandal (Banka), besides Janata Dal - United minister Damodar Raut.