Patna: Over 18.30 percent voter turnout has been recorded till 11 AM in the first phase of Bihar assembly polls on Wednesday, the Election Commission said in its provisional data.

A total of 71 assembly segments of the state's 243 constituencies are voting in the first phase in which nearly 2.15 crore voters will decide the electoral fate of over 1,000 candidates.

As per the provisional voter turnout data updated by the Election Commission at 11 AM, 18.31 percent of the total electorates have exercised their franchise.

The 71 constituencies are spread across 16 districts.

The maximum 26.76 percent turnout has been recorded in Lakhisarai, followed by Nawada (23.42%) and Banka (22.58 percent).

Among other districts, Buxar has recorded 19.10 percent turnout, Gaya 19.02 percent, Aurangabad 18.46 percent, Sheikhpura 17.31 percent, Kaimur (Bhabua) 16.98 percent, and Bhojpur 16.21 percent.

Munger recorded a turnout of 15.71 percent, Rohtas 15.32 percent, Arwal 14.81 percent, Jamui 13.91 percent, Jehanabad 11.39 percent, Bhagalpur 6.84 percent, and Patna 5.96 percent.

Union minister and senior BJP leader Giriraj Singh cast his vote at a polling booth in Lakhisarai, while former Bihar chief minister and HAM president Jitan Ram Manjhi exercised his franchise at a booth in Gaya.

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Bengaluru, Nov 30: Congress Karnataka unit president D K Shivakumar on Monday said Hinduism is no one's property and the party believes in the Hindutva of Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda, and in protecting the interest of people belonging to all communities.

"Ours is Mahatma Gandhi's Hindutva, Vivekananda's Hindutva...Hinduism is no one's property....India's tradition, culture is the wealth that belongs to all of us .

We (Congress) will protect and safeguard the interest of everyone as said in our constitution," Shivakumar told reporters in response to a question about recent developments regarding inter-faith marriages and Hindutva politics.

"Protecting the constitution is our commitment and our stand," he added.

Shivakumar had convened a meeting of senior leaders of the party today on developments in the state and strengthening the Congress as an organisation.

Shivakumar said booth and panchayat level committees will be formed in the coming days towards organising the party and to make Congress a cadre based party.

The booth committees will be called "Praja Pratinidhi" and it will have representation from across sections of the society.

"We will implement it during the upcoming gram panchayat elections itself," he said.

The Karnataka State Election Commission on Monday announced polls to 5,762 gram panchayats in the state in two phases on December 22 and 27, and the model code of conduct has come into immediate effect.

Welcoming the announcement of the polls, Shivakumar said "For the gram panchayat election we are forming nine teams.All our leaders will be part of it.

However senior they (leaders) are, they will visit various parts of the state from district to assembly level.

MLAs have been given responsibility of neighbouring constituencies," he said.