Campaigning ended today for the 42 assembly constituencies going to polls in the fourth phase of elections in Bihar on November 1.
These assembly seats are spread over eight districts of Patna, Bhagalpur, Munger, Sheikhpura, Jamui, Begusarai, Khagaria and Lakhisarai, which had been crucial in bringing down the Lalu government of 15 years in the State in 2005.
Around 10.04 crore voters, including 46.74 lakh women would be eligible to exercise their franchise at more than 10,716 polling stations to decide the fate of 568 candidates, including 58 women.
Prominent contestants include BJP stalwarts and ministers Ashwini Kumar Choubey (Bhagalpur), Nand Kishore Yadav (Patna Sahib) Ramnarayan Mandal (Banka), besides JD(U) minister Damodar Raut.
Senior IAS officer Afzal Amanullah’s wife Parveen Amanullah is contesting on a JD(U) ticket from Sahebpur Kamal.
Former CPI(M) MP Subodh Rai, who recently switched over to ruling JD(U), is in the fray from Sultanganj.
LJP president Ramvilas Paswan’s brother and state party president Pashupati Kumar Paras is contesting from Alauli.
While JD(U) is contesting from 25 seats, ally BJP is contesting in the remaining 17.
RJD has fielded candidates in 26 and ally LJP in 16.
The Congress is contesting from all 42 constituencies while the BSP is in the fray from 40 seats.
The CPI-ML (L) is contesting 15 seats, CPI (13) and CPI(M) (six).
In 2005 October, an upsurge was witnessed in favour of the NDA, while the RJD-LJP alliance was halved in each district.
The poor performance of the RJD was the result of the LJP of Ramvilas Paswan ploughing a separate furrow and substantially splitting the minority votes of Lalu Prasad.
Out of 42 constituencies, ten - Alauli, Suryagarha, Tarapur, Jamalpur, Katoria, Belhar, Sikandara, Jamui, Jhajha and Chakai, are Maoist-hit with polling to take place between 7:00 am and 3:00 pm.
Several political bigwigs, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi and General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, besides a number of central ministers and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, campaigned for party candidates.
NDA leaders, including BJP Parliamentary Party Chief L K Advani, its president Nitin Gadkari, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, besides JD(U) President Sharad Yadav and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar campaigned for the ruling alliance.