With just a day left for campaigning in the third phase of the Bihar assembly elections, both the large political alliances and smaller parties have stepped on the accelerator.
As many as 1207 candidates are in the fray for the third and final phase of polling for 78 seats in 15 districts scheduled for November 7.
This phase will decide the fate of both the Mahagathbandhan and NDA. At the same time, smaller parties such as the LJP, RLSP, AIMIM, BSP and NCP are testing their luck to become kingmakers in case of a tight situation.
The contest by and large pans out between Mahagathbandhan and NDA but as majority of the regions falls in the Muslim-dominated Seemanchal area, parties such as the AIMIM, LJP and or NCP may end up cutting votes of the larger parties. The AIMIM, for instance, won a seat from the Muslim-dominated Kishanganj district.
In 2015 the JD-U managed to bag 23 seats from the region. Then, it was part of Mahagathbandhan and hence voters of Muslim community backed it. The equation has now changed as the JD-U has joined forces with a saffron party and the voter sentiment may shift.
As per Election Commission data, Kishanganj has more than 60 per cent Muslims popularion, followed by Araria with 45 per cent, Katihar with more than 40% and Purnea with more than 30%.
For the Mahagathbandhan, 46 candidates are contesting on RJD tickets in the third phase followed by 25 on Congress tickets, 5 on CPI-ML (L) tickets and 2 for the CPI. For the NDA, the JD-U is contesting on 37 seats, BJP on 35, VIP on 5 and HAM on one seat.
The third phase of polling will decide the fate of leaders such as Abdul Bari Siddiqui contesting from Kewati, Sharad Yadav’s daughter Suhasini Yadav from Bihariganj, Lovely Anand contesting from Saharsa, Nikhil Mandal from Madhepura and Akhtarul Iman from Amour.
Eight ministers of the JD-U are their luck in this phase. Power minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav is contesting from Supaul, Vinod Narayan Jha from Benipatti, Madan Sahani from Bahadurpur, Suresh Sharma from Muzaffarpur, Laxmeshwar Rai from Laukaha, Bima Bharti from Rupauli, Narendra Narayan Yadav from Alamnagar, Maheshwar Hajari from Kalyanpur and Ramesh Rishidev from Singheshwar.