55% voter turnout in second phase of Bihar polls

The second phase of voting closed yesterday and it was another record turnout of voters, continuing the trend seen earlier during the 1st phase of voting on 12 October. The 2nd phase saw a record voter turnout at 55%, which is 2.97% improvement over the assembly elections in 2010.

Once again, women beat men voters by turning out in larger numbers and once again re-affirming the fact that they care about the world around them and are willing to come out to participate in the process of change, for the better. With 57.50% women voters turning up, they once again beat men voters who turned in 52.50%.

Jahanabad constituency had the highest voter turnout improvement at 7.14%, while Kaimur had negative turnout percentage of 0.78%.

The voting took place for 32 assembly seats and covered 6 districts. The next phase of elections will be held on 28 October (Wednesday), 2015.

Voting percentage in 2010 / 2015 / Difference

Kaimur: 58.64% / 57.86% / – 0.78%
Rohtas: 52.46% / 54.66% / + 2.20%
Arwal: 47.60% / 53.21% / + 5.61%
Jahanabad: 49.80% / 56.94% / + 7.14%
Aurangabad: 50.59% / 52.50% / + 1.91%
Gaya: 51.45% / 55.54% / + 4.09%
Total cumulative: 52.03% / 55% / + 2.97%

Interpreting the voter turnout in the districts

Jahanabad registered the highest voter turnout at 56.94% which is an improvement of 7.14% over the 2010 assembly elections. In 2010, the seat was won by Abhiram Sharma, JD(U), who defeated Sachita Nand Yadav, RJD, by a narrow margin of 8,567 votes. Since JD(U) and RJD are allies, JD(U) has made way for RJD candidate Mundrika Singh Yadav. His main challenge will come from RLSP candidate Praveen Kumar. However, the recent video released last week showing Mundrika Singh Yadav accepting ‘cash’ in return for cash post-election victory might have done some damage to his chances. It remains to be seen if the people will overlook his ‘action’ and still stick to caste loyalty. He won the seat in 1995 assembly polls.

Arwal registered the next highest voter turnout percentage at 53.21%, which is 5.61% higher turnout than 2010 assembly elections. In 2010 assembly elections, the seat was won by Chitranjan Kumar, BJP, who narrowly defeated Mahanand Prasad, CPI(ML) (L) by 4,202 votes. Arwal has been a BJP stronghold since 2005 but there is also a strong support for CPI (ML) (L) that has been developing support at the grass root level. Mahanand Prasad will again be challenging Chitranjan Kumar, BJP, this time but the contest is likely to be a three cornered one with Ravindra Singh of JD(U) likely to put up a strong showing. Unlike earlier years, when sheer neglect by state headquarters left Arwal largely ignored, Nitish Kumar has given more attention here than previous regimes and thus, his support to Ravindra Singh could make the contest a keen one.

Gaya stood at third position in terms of improvement in voter turnout at 4.09%. In these elections, the DM of Gaya took initiative in putting up model election booths for the first time that saw several initiatives like an all-women manned crèche with a play area for toddlers, seating arrangements with drinking water facilities and friendly welcome to all voters.

From 1990 till date, Gaya has been a BJP stronghold with its candidate Prem Kumar winning all elections since 1990. He is the sitting MLA from Gaya having defeated Jalal Uddin Ansari, CPI, by 28,419 votes. All his victories have been won with comfortable margins, which means, he continues to remain the favourite from this seat. CPI has been traditionally popular with the masses as well till 2005. However, since then, the Congress has also shown strength. Challenging Prem Kumar, BJP, will be Priya Ranjan of INC and Masood Manzar, CPI.

Rohtas too has shown a 2.20% improvement in voter turnout over 2010 polls. Sasaram, the district headquarters, has been a BJP stronghold since 1990, where Jawahar Prasad, BJP has been winning all assembly elections, except in 2000 when he lost to his old rival Dr Ashok Kumar, RJD. Jawahar Prasad is the sitting MLA from Sasaram and in 2010 polls he defeated Dr Ashok Kumar by a narrow margin of 5,411 votes. But in 2010, he had Nitish Kumar’s support on his side but given the narrow margin of victory and the fact that JD(U) will throw its support behind Dr Ashok Kumar, RJD, might prove too tough for Jawahar Prasad who may well see anti-incumbency catching up with him.

Aurangabad was the lowest of the 5 districts to turn up positive percentage improvement in voter turnout at 1.91% over 2010 assembly polls. Aurangabad too has been a BJP stronghold since 1995. Barring 2000 assembly polls, Ramadhar Singh, BJP, has been holding this seat. In 2010 polls, he defeated Sunil Kumar Singh, RJD, by 6,242 votes. Other than BJP, this has traditionally been a stronghold for RJD that has been consistently providing strong fight against the BJP, therefore it is surprising that the Grand Alliance has decided to put up young Anand Shankar Singh, 32, INC, instead of putting up a RJD candidate to challenge BJP. Anand Shankar Singh is an MBA and runs a school here. He has been involved in Congress’s youth politics and will be fighting his first elections. This is a big gamble that the Grand Alliance is taking, given Ramadhar Singh’s political stature.

Kaimur is the only constituency where the turnout has dropped by 0.78% over 2010. The EC office along with the larger political parties must look into why there has been a drop in turnout when all other constituencies have recorded an increase.

In 2010 assembly polls, Dr Pramod Kumar Singh, LJP, narrowly beat Anand Bhushan Pandey, BJP, by just 447 votes. Bhabua has not been a traditional stronghold for any particular party, although since 2005, Anand Bhushan Pandey, BJP, has been developing the Bhabua constituency. This time he will be facing Dr Pramod Kumar Singh, JD(U), who has since switched his allegiance from LJP to JD(U). He is a three time MLA from Bhabua. This will be a keen contest to watch.

Other poll related news from yesterday

Tight security arrangements through these polls have ensured that the polls have mostly been peaceful and have proceeded without any major untoward incident. However, the vigilant security forces detected and defused a 12 kg IED from Phulwaria village on the Megra-Chakrabandha road and another 10 kg IED was defused in Harni village on Megra-Bagpur road.

The Flying Squad and other agencies have recovered Rs 2.50 core in cash. In other raids, 64,505 litres of liquor worth Rs 1.22 crore was also recovered.

 

Related Information:
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