Bihar on Sunday witnessed 52.02 per cent polling till 3 p.m. for the eight Lok Sabha seats in the state’s Bhojpuri-speaking northern belt, amid reports of an incident in Sheohar where a polling official was injured by a stray bullet accidentally fired by a home guard, an election official said.

More than 1.38 crore voters will decide the fate of 127 candidates in Gopalganj, Siwan, Maharajganj, East Champaran, West Champaran, Valmiki Nagar, Sheohar and Vaishali constituencies.

Despite the scorching heat, voters came out to vote in large numbers, the official added.

“In the initial polling, women in large numbers were seen standing outside polling booths. They aimed to escape the scorching sun and hot winds (loo) later in the day.”

Voting was delayed in a few polling booths across the eight seats due to the malfunctioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM).

Union Minister Radha Mohan Singh cast his vote in Motihari and Hina Sahab, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) candidate from Siwan, also exercised her franchise.

A Sheohar polling official was seriously injured when the bullet accidentally fired by the home guard hit him in the stomach, said a district police official. He was rushed to the hospital.

Heavy security arrangements were in place with three helicopters requisitioned to provide air cover to the security forces. The India-Nepal border has also been sealed.

The stakes are high for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA in this phase as it aims to retain all the eight seats it won in the 2014 elections.

For the opposition’s Grand Alliance, it’s a win-win situation as it eyes to gain some seats with nothing to lose.