Campaigning ends for 5th phase of Bihar polls



Campaigning ends for 5th phase of Bihar polls Patna: Campaigning ended today in 35 Assembly constituencies in Bihar going to polls in the fifth and penultimate phase of elections on November 9 under the shadow of a poll boycott call by the Maoists.

Nearly half of the 35 constituencies spread over the districts of Bhojpur, Patna, Nawada, Gaya, Jehanabad and Nalanda have strong Maoist presence but no major incident was reported during the campaign period.

Around 81.26 lakh voters, including 37.35 lakh female, will be eligible to exercise their franchise at 9,143 polling stations to decide the fate of 490 candidates, including 44 women.

Among prominent candidates are state JD-U ministers Hari Narain Singh (Harnaut), Jitan Ram Manjhi (Makhdumpur), Bhagwan Singh Kushwaha (Jagdishpur) and BJP minister Prem Kumar (Gaya town).

Others include JD-U Chief whip in the state Assembly Shravan Kumar (Nalanda), party MLAs Asha Devi (Barhara), Sunil Kumar (Biharsharif), besides others Shyam Rajak (Phulwari), Narendra Kumar Pandey (Tarari), senior BJP leaders Sayadeo Narain Arya (Rajgir), and Amrendra Pratap Singh (Ara).

LJP's Dularchand Yadav is contesting from Arwal. Former RJD ministers Surendra Prasad Yadav (Belaganj), Raghvendra Pratap Singh (Barhara), Suresh Paswan (Agiwan) and Rajballabh Prasad (Nawada) are also in fray. While the ruling JD-U is contesting 22 seats, its ally-BJP has put up candidates in the remaining 13. RJD is contesting in 20 seats, while ally LJP candidates are in fray in the remaining 15 seats.

Congress and BSP are contesting all the seats. CPI has put up its candidates in seven seats, CPI-ML (Liberation) in 23 and CPI-M in two.

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi was among the star-campaigners for the party which also fielded its central ministers S P Jaiswal, Mukul Wasnik, Subodh Kant Sahay, Salman Khursheed and C P Joshi in a bid to drum up support for the party nominees.

Nitish Kumar, seeking a second term as chief minister, campaigned even on the Diwali day.

PTI