Campaign ends for Ist phase of Bihar polls

Campaigning for 47 of the 243 assembly seats in Bihar that go to polls on October 21 ended Tuesday.

Patna: Campaigning for 47 of the 243
assembly constituencies in Bihar that go to the polls on
October 21 ended on Tuesday.

Prominent among the 635 contestants are senior JD-U
ministers, Vijendra Prasad Yadav, Narendra Narain Yadav, Renu
Kumari, Congress nominee Ranjeet Ranjan, wife of incarcerated
former MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, state Congress
chief Choudhary Mehboob Ali Kaiser and Congress candidate
Lovely Anand.
Congress and BSP are contesting all the 47 seats,
ruling JD-U 26 and ally BJP 21. RJD is contesting in 31 seats,
ally LJP in 16, while CPI-M has put up candidates at seven
seats, CPI 11, CPI-ML (Liberation) 17 and NCP 33 seats.

Around 1.06 crore voters are eligible to exercise
their franchise at 10,454 polling centres.

Multi-cornered contests are lined up in all 47
assembly segments of Saharsa, Madhepura, Madhubani, Supaul,
Purnia, Araria, Katihar and Kishanganj districts.

Heavyweights who hit the campaign trial were Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and
General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, besides union ministers,
including Salman Khurshid and Mukul Wasnik.

NDA campaigners included JD-U national president
Sharad Yadav, his BJP counterpart Nitin Gadkari and senior
party leader Arun Jaitley.

Among others who campaigned were CPI-M General
Secretary Prakash Karat, its leader D Raja and CPI-ML general
secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, besides BSP supremo Mayawati.
The major issues included post-Kosi flood management,
rehabilitation of the displaced and a pending railway project
in Madhepura.

Election officials said polling would be held from
7 am to 5 pm in all constituencies barring Maoist-hit ones
where the elections would end at 3 pm.

JD-U with 13 sitting MLAs in the Kosi region is riding
high on its development plank and votes of EBCs who form a big
chunk of the votebank in entire eastern Bihar. In the October
2005 polls, JD-U had got the initial lead from the Kosi region
and Seemanchal.

On the other hand, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and LJP
president Ram Vilas Paswan are hoping to gain in Kosi and
Seemancal regions banking on their Yadav, Paswan and minority

During campaigning the prime minister and Sonia
lambasted Nitish Kumar for trying to take credit for central
schemes, besides questioning his secular credentials.
Sonia attacked Nitish for presenting a secular image
of his government while having an alliance with the BJP which
was `dead opposed to secularism`.

On his part, Nitish accused Singh of trying to shift
the blame on the state government for `failure` of central
agencies on the fund utilisation issue. Nitish, the star
campaigner of the NDA, also accused Congress of being hand in
glove with RJD and claimed that they would team up after the