Patna: Around 57 percent of 13.5 million electorate voted on Monday in 49 of the 243 constituencies in the first round of battle for political power in Bihar. The two main fronts soon claimed victory.
It marked the start of an intense five-phase contest that will end on 5 November and whose outcome — to be known three days later — will prove whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi still retains his charisma or not. The second round of polling will be held on 16 October.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA is determined to oust the ruling JD(U) and its allies, the RJD and Congress who had formed a Grand Alliance.
Additional Chief Electoral Officer R Lakshaman said the election passed off peacefully, with 57 percent voting. It was nearly 51 percent in 2010.
Defying Maoist calls to boycott the elections, millions of men and women in both urban and rural areas trooped to polling booths in the 49 constituencies spread over 10 districts, officials said.