1.55 crore voters of Bihar vote today to elect 57 representatives to the 2015 Bihar Legislative Assembly, covering 9 districts that form part of Seemanchal, Mithilanchal and Kosi belt.
Out of the 57 assembly seats in the fray today, 9 are reserved for SC candidates and include Rajnagar, Tribeniganj, Raniganj, Banmankhi. Manihari, Koda, Singheshwar, Sonbarsa, and Kusheshwarsthan.
The voting commences at 0700 hours and closes at 1700 hours for most constituencies. However, the voting at Simri Bakhtiarpur and Mahishi will close at 1500 hours.
The results of all five phases of voting will be announced on Sunday 8 November.
Latest voter turnout report as on 1100 hours today
- Madhubani: 21.49%
- Supaul: 27.81%
- Araria: 24.17%
- Kishanganj: 25.19%
- Purnea: 24.77%
- Katihar: 24.42%
- Madhepura: 25.54%
- Saharsa: 22.40%
- Darbhanga: 25.26%
Phase total: 24.29%
The 9 districts holding the polls are: Madhubani, Supaul, Araria, Kishanganj, Purnea, Katihar, Madhepura, Saharsa and Darbhanga.
Assembly constituencies: Harlakhi, Benipatti, Khajauli, Babubarhi, Bisphi, Madhubani, Rajnagar (SC), Jhanjharpur, Phulparas, Laukaha.
Assembly constituencies: Nirmali, Pipra, Supaul, Tribeniganj (SC), Chatapur.
Assembly constituencies: Narpatganj, Raniganj (SC), Forbesganj, Araria, Jokihat, Sikti.
Assembly constituencies: Bahadurganj, Thakurganj, Kishanganj, Kochadaman.
Assembly constituencies: Amour, Bayasi, Kasba, Banmakhi (SC), Rupauli, Damdaha, Purnea.
Assembly constituencies: Katihar, Kadwa, Balrampur, Pranpur, Manihari (SC), Barari, Koda (SC).
Assembly constituencies: Alamnagar, Bihariganj, Singheswar (SC), Madhupera.
Assembly constituencies: Sonbarsa (SC), Saharsa, Simri Bakhtiarpur, Mahishi.
Assembly constituencies: Kusheshwarsthan (SC), Gauraboram, Benipur, Alinagar, Darbhanga Rural, Darbhanga, Hayaghat, Bahadurpur, Kevti, Jale.
Total Assembly seats in Phase-5: 57
Total candidates: 827
Male candidates: 769
Women candidates: 58
Party-wise break-up of candidates
BJP is fielding 38 candidates, while HAM-S- 3, RLSP- 5, LJP- 11. JAP(L)- 40,
JD(U) is fielding 25 candidates, RJD- 20 and INC- 12.
BSP is fielding 55 candidates, CPI- 20, CPI (ML) (L)- 23, Independents- 262.
The break-up of electors in the fifth phase of voting:
Total electors: 1,55,43,594
General electors: 1,55,36,660
Male electors: 81,84,948
Female electors: 73,51,277
Third gender: 435
Male electors: 5,207
Female electors: 1,727
Third gender: 0
Total number of ASD electors: 7,84,343
First time electors within 18-19 years of age include:
Total electors: 5,99,317
Male electors: 3,45,941
Female electors: 2,53,296
Total number of polling stations: 14,709
Total number of polling station locations: 9,838
Total number EVMs to be used: CU: 14,709 ; BU: 18,866
Total number of polling staff to be deployed: 74,469
Total number of CRPF & police personnel to be deployed (Companies): 1033
Total number of video cameras to be deployed: 923
Total number of Helicopter/UAV to be deployed: 5
BJP pushes the envelope with another ‘beef’ ad
On Tuesday, the EC’s office announced that no advertisement must be released in print or electronic media without its permission. Despite the clear order, BJP has challenged the EC and gone ahead and released an advertisement questioning the Chief Minister’s silence on beef related remarks made earlier by Lalu Prasad, Raghuvansh Singh and Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah. The advertisement has already gone viral on social media and its desired impact achieved, just one day before the fifth and last round of voting. This is indeed a serious offence and it remains to be seen what action the CEC takes against the party.
So what made the BJP take this last minute step to once again rake up the ‘beef’ issue when the controversy was more or less shifting to the background?
The answer probably lies in the composition of the voter profile in Seemanchal, Mithilanchal and Kosi region. This area is mostly dominated by the Muslim, Yadav and Kurmi communities, which is largely inclined towards the Mahagathbandhan. BJP realizes that the last phase is a make-or-break for its ambitions in Bihar and therefore, it has tried to polarize the votes hoping to garner support from the non-Kurmi and non-Yadav voters.
In this round of polling there could be two party spoilers. One is Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM in Seemanchal, and the other is Pappu Yadav’s JAP (L) which is contesting 40 seats in the Kosi region. While AIMIM is not expected to make much of an impact that could be damaging to Mahagathbandhan’s chances, Pappu Yadav could definitely take away votes from Mahagathbandhan, since they share similar support base.
But beyond the controversies, the region is known to go with traditional voting patterns based on caste rather than cause. Adding to this is the fact that several candidates have changed party allegiance and are now part of opposing alliance or are contesting as independents.
This is likely to confuse voters in cases where their candidate of choice, belonging to their own caste, is now part of an opposing alliance. In such a situation, would the voter vote for his caste or would he follow the alliance? The answer is definitely going to impact the final result, to what extent, will be known on Sunday.
The indications thus far are that the voter turnout is going to exceed previous turnout in 2010 polls. The additional voters will play a decisive role in deciding the final winner in these elections.
Latest voter turnout report at the end of day – 1700 hours
Phase total: 60%