Patna Dec 23 (UNI) About 50 per cent electorates exercised their franchise during the polling for by-elections to 780 different posts of Panchayat, which passed off peacefully in Bihar today.
State election commission Secretary Raghuvansh Kumar Sinha said polling began at 0700 hrs, amid tight security arrangements, and ended at 1600 hrs.
Mr Sinha said 77 people had been arrested and four vehicles seized throughout the day.
He said the voters exercised their franchise on 4895 polling booths for the post of Panch of Gram Kachahri, Sarpanch, Mukhiya and Panchayat Samiti.
''No untoward incident has been reported from any corner of the state,'' he said, adding that district police force and Homeguards have been deployed in various areas, where polling were being held.
Meanwhile, the government had directed the district administration to take stern action against all trouble mongers and anti-social elements who may try to disrupt the polling procedure.
Prohibitory orders had also been promulgated in and around the polling booths. The vehicles passing through the areas facing poll were checked thoroughly.
The source said that counting of the votes would be held on December 24.
Polling for vacant panchayat seats in Bhojpur and Rohtas districts would be held on January 12, 2008 in view of by election to Bikramganj Lok Sabha seat on December 29.
Of the total 16,035 vacant posts of the Panchayat, polling was held for 780 seats while elections for 5834 posts were held unanimously and 9,421 seats were still vacant in want of nominations and some other technical reasons.