Patna: Curtains on Saturday came down on the
campaign in 48 Bihar Assembly constituencies figuring in the
third phase of polling on Wednesday which is considered as a
litmus test for the RJD-LJP combine.
The ruling NDA and the RJD-LJP combine are locked in a
neck-and-neck fight in these constituencies spread over East
Champaran, West Champaran, Siwan, Gopalganj, Saran and
In the multi-cornered contest, Congress is in the fray in
all these seats while BSP, CPI, CPI-M and CPI-ML (Liberation)
are also testing their popularity among the voters.
An electorate of 1.03 crore, including 47.56 lakh women,
will decide the fate of 787 candidates prominent among them
being former chief minister Rabri Devi.
The wife of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad is contesting from
Raghopur in Vaishali district and Sonepur in Saran district.
Others key contestants are state JD(U) ministers Brishen
Patel (Vaishali) and Vyasdeo Prasad (Siwan), besides BJP
ministers Renu Devi (Bettiah), Ramchandra Sahni (Sugauli).
Of the 48 seats, RJD is contesting 35 and its ally LJP 13.
The ruling JD(U) and BJP are contesting 24 seats each,
while CPI has fielded its candidates in 10, CPI-M in five and
CPI-ML (Liberation) in 16.
The third phase of the polls is regarded as a
litmus test for the RJD-LJP combine, especially in Vaishali
and Saran area, whereas the NDA seeks to boost its support
base in Champarans and the upper Gangetic belt.
Of the 48 constituencies, Ramnagar, Raghopur, Patepur and
Valmikinagar have been identified as Maoist-hit where
polling would be held between 7 AM and 3 PM.
The Congress hopes to make inroads buoyed by the euphoria
generated by party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi`s visits to
woo the voters.