Last Updated: Tuesday, April 08, 2014, 18:42
Patna: High-pitch campaigning for six Lok Sabha seats of Bihar going to polls on April 10 in the first phase came to an end on Tuesday evening.
The six constituencies -- Sasaram (SC), Karakat, Aurangabad, Gaya (SC), Nawada and Jamui (SC)-- are located in Naxal-hit districts for which the Election Commission has called for extra security arrangements.
Election Commission sources said a total of 80 candidates, including 10 women, are trying their luck for the six seats going to vote on April 10. There are 9,781 polling stations across the six constituencies.
The security forces have been on their toes for smooth conduct of voting in these constituencies in view of the poll boycott call given by the Left extremist group.
Death of three CRPF personnel while defusing landmine in Aurangabad yesterday and recovery of a huge quantity of landmines in Gaya and Aurangabad have made the task of security personnel tougher.
With 40 Lok Sabha seats, Bihar is important for all parties to be able to have an effective role in the government formation at the Centre.
While a resurgent BJP is making claims of winning a major chunk of the seats in Bihar, RJD-Congress alliance and that of JD(U) and CPI are also making a determined bid to corner maximum seats in the state.
In the wake of three-cornered contest in almost all 40 seats in Bihar, every seat counts and voting on six seats in the first phase would show which way the wind is blowing in the state.
Fate of important leaders like Speaker of the outgoing Lok Sabha Meira Kumar, former Kerala Governor Nikhil Kumar and Chirag Paswan, actor-turned politician son of LJP President Ramvilas Paswan, would be decided by 93,29,760 voters.
Meira Kumar is seeking re-election for a third consecutive term from Sasaram, her home turf which elected her father and dalit icon Babu Jagjivan Ram for eight times since Independence to 1984.
She is pitted against Cheddi Paswan of BJP, who switched sides from JD(U) recently. JD(U) has fielded former IAS KP Ramaiah.
Former Delhi Police Commissioner and ex-Kerala governor Nikhil Kumar of Congress is trying his luck from neighbouring Aurangabad seat, popularly known as Chittorgarh of Bihar because of the dominance of Rajput caste.
LJP president Ramvilas Paswan's son Chirag is debuting in Jamui (SC) seat and is pitted against Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary.
Among political heavyweights, Narendra Modi came to Sasaram. Congress president Sonia Gandhi campaigned for Meira Kumar, while Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi visited Aurangabad on April 1.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, RJD president Lalu Prasad, LJP's Ramvilas Paswan and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi held a large number of poll rallies.
Of the total electorate, the number of women voters is 49,73,691 surpassing the number of males 43,55,752.
First Published: Tuesday, April 08, 2014, 18:42