Bihar Assembly Election 2020 Latest News: After the first and second phase of polls were held on October 28 and November 3 respectively, now the stage is set for the third and final phase of election in Bihar on Saturday. Also Read - Months After SAD Broke Ties With NDA, Centre Withdraws Z-plus Security of Akali Leader
In this phase of polls, the stakes are quite high for the ruling NDA, trying to avert the anti-incumbency factor, and the opposition Grand Alliance led by an apparently resurgent RJD. Also Read - 13 Out of 15 Bihar Ministers Are Crorepatis, Highest From BJP: Report
Fates of 1204 candidates to be decided Also Read - Poor Show in Bihar Polls: Khurshid Slams Sibal, Sonia Calls Panel Meet For 'Introspection'
About 2.35 crore voters, spread across 78 assembly segments of the 243-strong Assembly, will decide the fates of 1204 candidates, including the Speaker and 12 members of the state cabinet. Around 33,782 polling booths have been set up amid tight security for the polls.
In this phase, the voters will also decide the political future of several veteran leaders of the Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) as well.
Besides, polling will also take place for Valmiki Nagar Lok Sabha seat where a by-election has been necessitated by the death of sitting JD(U) MP Baidyanath Mahato
The JD(U)’s bid to retain the Parliamentry seat by fielding his son Sunil Kumar is facing the primary challenge from Congress candidate Pravesh Kumar Mishra, a journalist- turned-politician.
Polling across 19 districts
Like Valmiki Nagar, all the 78 poll-bound assembly segments spread across 19 districts fall in north Bihar, as areas falling north of the Ganges in the state are called in common parlance.
Many of these fall in the Kosi-Seemanchal region where the contest between NDA and Grand Alliance will be held under the shadow of Owaisi factor given the fact that the AIMIM has fielded candidates in many of the Muslim-dominated seats here and the Hyderabad MP also carried out a hectic campaign.
The Kosi-Seemanchal region also happens to be the main area of influence for maverick former MP Pappu Yadav, whose Jan Adhikar Party is determined to make its presence felt and prove a point to the RJD as both draw their support from the states most populous community the Yadavs.
As in the previous two phases, Chirag Paswans LJP is also in the fray in a number of seats this time, threatening to play spoilsport for the NDA, especially the JD(U) with its repeated pleas that “every vote cast in favour of the Chief Ministers party will be a loss for Bihar’s future”.
While the NDA looked surefooted till a few months ago, poll pundits have begun to predict “winds of change” and the ruling coalition seems to have taken note as emotional appeals to the voters have emanated from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Prominent candidates in this phase include Vijay Kumar Chaudhary of JD (U),Speaker of the outgoing assembly, famed for his ability to win over hostile opponents with a disarming smile, who seeks to do a hat-trick in Sarairanjan.
JD(U) ministers in the fray are Bijendra Prasad Yadav (Supaul), Narendra Narayan Yadav (Alamnagar), Maheshwar Hazari (Kalyanpur), Ramesh Rishideo (Singheshwar), Khurshid alias Firoz Ahmed (Sikta), Lakshmeshwar Roy (Laukaha), Bima Bharti (Rupauli) and Madan Sahni (Bahadurpur).
Four ministers are in the fray from the BJP Pramod Kumar (Motihari), Suresh Sharma (Muzaffarpur), Binod Narayan Jha (Benipatti) and Krishnakumar Rishi (Banmankhi).
Besides, wife and daughter-in-law respectively of recently deceased ministers Vinod Kumar Singh (BJP) and Kapil Deo Kamat (JDU) respectively are in the fray from the late legislatorss respective seats Pranpur and Babubarhi.
Another keenly watched candidate is Subhashini Yadav from Bihariganj whose father, veteran socialist leader and former Union minister Sharad Yadav, had been a multiple-term MP from Madhepura under which the assembly segment falls. She is contesting on a Congress ticket.
Counting of votes on Nov 10
Notably, Saturday will be the last leg of the voting in the current Bihar polls where elections are being conducted amid raging COVID pandemic. Counting of votes is scheduled on November 10.
The main contest in this phase is being considered between the NDA and the Grand Alliance, but former MP Pappu Yadav’s party, the Jan Adhikar party, the Lok Janshakti Party and the AIMIM have also fielded candidates, which has increased the worries of both the major alliances.
(With inputs from PTI, IANS)