New Delhi [India], October 27 (ANI): Bihar will go for the first phase of assembly elections for 71 seats on Wednesday in a keen contest in which the RJD-led opposition alliance is making a determined bid to unseat the ruling NDA government led by Nitish Kumar.
The elections will be the first in the situation created by COVID-19 that has posed new challenges for the participants in the electoral process particularly political parties who could hold a lesser number of rallies and public gatherings.
The elections have also seen the emergence of a third front with RLSP leader Upendra Kushwaha as the chief ministerial candidate. LJP is fighting the polls outside the NDA and has put up candidates against JD-U.
Elections to 243-seat Bihar assembly are being held in three phases. A total of 71 assembly constituencies spread over 16 districts will go to polls in the first phase and will decide the fate of 1,066 candidates. A total of 2,14,84,787 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise.
Due to restrictions related to COVID-19, political parties used wide screens to take their message to people.
In NDA, JD-U is contesting 115 seats, BJP 110, Vikassheel Insaan Party 11 seats and Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustani Awam Morcha seven seats of the total 243 seats in the state.
In the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance), which has Tejashwi Yadav as its chief ministerial candidate, RJD is contesting 144 seats, Congress 70, CPI-ML 19, CPI six and CPI-M four.
Nitish Kumar is eyeing his fourth term with BJP by his side. In 2015, Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) fought polls with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress as part of Mahagathbandhan. The BJP-led NDA had fought elections with LJP and other allies. JD-U later returned to NDA and formed the government.
While BJP and JD-U leaders have been accusing RJD of "jungle raaj" (lawlessness) in its earlier rule, Mahagathbandhan leaders have been pitching their promise of providing 10 lakh jobs to the youth.
LJP chief Chirag Paswan has been targeting Nitish Kumar. The BJP leaders have called LJP as "vote katwa" and had talked of writing to Election Commission against any possible use of photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi by anyone outside NDA. Paswan, however, called himself as PM Modi's "Hanuman".
The polling for the other two phases will be held on November 3, and 7 and the counting of votes will take place on November 10. (ANI)