Patna: Campaigning ended on Friday for the 45
constituencies figuring in the second phase of Assembly
elections in Bihar on October 24.
Altogether 99.49 lakh voters are eligible to vote to
determine the electoral fate of 623 candidates in the fray in
East Champaran, Sheohar, Sitamarhi, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur and
Political stalwarts whose fate will be decided include
state RJD chief Abdul Bari Siddiqui (Alinagar), his JD(U)
counterpart Vijay Kumar Choudhary (Sarairanjan), ministers
Ramnath Thakur (Samastipur) and Shahid Ali Khan (Sursand).
LJP supremo Ram Vilas Paswan`s brother Ramchandra Paswan
will be crossing swords with CLP leader Ashok Kumar in
RJD chief whip in the Assembly and former minister
Ramchandra Purve are contesting from Parihar, while former
union minister M A A Fatmi`s son Fraz Fatmi is in the fray
The Congress and the BSP are contesting all the seats.
The ruling JD(U) is contesting 28 seats and ally BJP
The RJD is in the fray in 34 Assembly constituencies,
and ally LJP in 11.
CPI-M and CPI have put up eight candidates each, while
CPI-ML (Liberation) is contesting in 11 seats.
In the February and October 2005 polls, the percentage of
votes of the RJD-LJP was higher than the NDA despite a dip in
RJD`s votes by 10 per cent compared to February that year.
Though infrastructure, law and order are factors in
favour of the NDA, the OBC-EBC and minority votes are also
The NDA is riding high on its development plank and
votes of EBCs who form a big chunk of the votebank in entire
On the other hand, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and LJP
president Ram Vilas Paswan are hoping there will be a
consolidation of the Yadav and minority votebanks.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, party General Secretary
Rahul Gandhi, senior BJP leaders, L K Advani, Nitin Gadkari, M
Venkaiah Naidu, Ravishankar Prasad and BSP supremo Mayawati
were the star campaigners.
Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi directed their criticism at
Nitish Kumar for not properly utilising central funds and also
questioned his secular credentials.
The Congress president attacked the chief minister for
presenting a secular image of his government while allying
with the BJP which was `dead opposed to secularism`.
Kumar, the star campaigner of the NDA, rubbished their
charges and accused the Congress of being hand in glove with
the RJD and claimed that they would team up after the
RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his LJP counterpart with their
sons Tejaswi and Chirag, respectively, charged the Nitish
Kumar government with being an utter failure on all fronts.
CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat, his CPI
counterpart A B Bardhan, besides CPI-ML (Liberation)`s
Dipankar Bhattacharya campaigned for Left nominees.