Patna: In a development that each party is interpreting differently, more women voted in the first round of Bihar assembly polls on Monday.
Around 57 percent of the 13.5 million electorate voted in the first of the five-phase voting in 49 of the 243 constituencies on Monday, officials said.
Chief Electoral Officer Ajay V. Nayak said 59.50 percent of women voted against 54.50 percent of male voters.
"It is really a positive development that more women have voted this time," he said.
According to him, long queues of women voters were seen outside polling booths on Monday in all 10 districts.
Cultural activist Jai Prakash said this was a result of several schemes initiated by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for women's empowerment.
The government has reserved 50 percent posts in Panchayati Raj elections and primary school teachers' recruitment to women and 35 percent of all police jobs for women.
The government's scheme to promote education among girls by providing them free cycles has increased school enrolment in rural areas.
But BJP ally HAM spokesperson Danish Rizwan said the high turnout of women was an indication of change in Bihar. "Women have voted for a change."
BJP leader Sanjay Mayukh said: "Women are against the return of jungle raj and they have voted in record numbers this time."