Patna, April 16 (IANS) Campaigning ended on Tuesday for the second of seven-phase Lok Sabha polls in Bihar covering 5 of the 40 seats in the state.
In this phase, the polls will be held in the Bhagalpur, Banka, Katihar, Kishanganj and Purnea constituencies.
The first phase of polls for 4 seats was held on April 11 in Gaya, Nawada, Jamui and Aurangabad parliamentary constituencies. All of these are areas affected by Maoist violence.
The over two-week long campaigning saw canvassing by top leaders of the ruling NDA – BJP, JD-U and LJP – and the opposition Grand Alliance of RJD, Congress, RLSP, HAM and VIP.
Besides, the six Left parties, the BSP and Pappu Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Party also hit the campaign trail.
The campaigning witnessed war of words, and was occasionally marred by personal attacks to score points. The run-up to the election saw hectic campaigning by star campaigners like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, former Chief Minister Rabri Devi of the RJD, leader of opposition Tejashwi Yadav, RLSP chief and former Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha and former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi were among the other prominent campaigners.
More than 85 lakh voters are eligible to decide the fate of 68 candidates in the second round of polling on Thursday.
The main electoral planks on which all parties are seeking votes include economic development, job quotas and the battle against corruption. The BJP also highlighted the Centre’s recent action against terrorism in the form of the Balakot air strike.
Political here say caste equations will influence the voters more than any other issue
that in many constituencies in the state. While the NDA is banking on upper castes, Economically Backward Classes (EBCs), Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and Dalits, the Grand Alliance hopes lie with the votes of the OBCs, EBCs, Muslims and Dalits.
Paramilitary security forces have been deployed at all polling booths and drones will be used for the first time for surveillance during polling, officials said.