86 lakh citizens of Bihar will vote today for their choice of candidates representing 32 Assembly constituencies that will form part of the Bihar State Legislative Assembly, in second of five phases of voting, with the last phase scheduled to be held on 5 November. Of the 32 constituencies in the second phase, 7 are reserved for SC candidates.
Voting will begin at 0700 hrs and will close at 1700 hrs in 9 assembly constituencies, 0700 hrs to 1600 hrs in 12 constituencies and 0700 hrs to 1500 hrs in 11 constituencies. Date of counting is 8 November 2015 (Sunday).
On 12 October, the first phase of polling was held for 49 assembly constituencies.
Latest voter turnout report as on 1600 hours today
Phase total: 52.53%
NCP walks out of Third Front
In a big set back to the Third Front, Tariq Anwar, General Secretary of NCP yesterday announced that the party had decided to separate from the Third Front. The reason stated by him to walk away at a time when the elections were underway, was the recent statement of Mulayam Singh Yadav during rallies in Rohtas and Aurangabad saying that there was a wave in favour of BJP and that the NDA would sweep to power. NCP has taken strong objection to this overt support for the BJP which the party feels goes against the spirit of the Third Front.
Apparently, there is more to it than just Mulayam’s statement, since he has made similar statements earlier that hinted at him getting closer to BJP. The rift between the alliance partners is now out in the open and will certainly be a setback for Mulayam Singh as the Third Front has been reduced to a motley of smaller and relatively insignificant parties. NCP will now have to decide which way the party would like to lean. There is a fair chance they will wait till the results are announced and then take a call.
Phase total: 10.76%
The 6 districts holding the polls today are: Kaimur, Rohtas, Arwal, Jehanabad, Aurangabad and Gaya.
District: Kaimur (Bhabua)
• Assembly constituencies: Ramgarh, Mohania (SC), Bhabua, Chainpur.
• Assembly constituencies: Chenari (SC), Sasaram, Kargahar, Dinara, Nokha, Dehri, Karakat
• Assembly constituencies: Arwal, Kurtha
• Assembly constituencies: Jehanabad, Ghosi, Makhdumpur (SC)
• Assembly constituencies: Goh, Obra, Nabinagar, Kutumba (SC), Aurangabad, Rafiganj
• Assembly constituencies: Gurua, Sherghati, Imamganj (SC), Barachatti (SC), Bodh Gaya (SC), Gaya Town, Tikari, Belaganj, Atri, Wazirganj
Total Assembly seats in Phase-2: 32
Total candidates: 456
Male candidates: 424
Women candidates: 32
Party-wise break-up of candidates
• BJP is fielding up 16 candidates while HAM-S-7, RLSP-6 and LJP-3.
• JD(U) is fielding 13 candidates, RJD-13 and Congress-6.
• SP is fielding 19 candidates, BSP-32 and CPI-13.
The break-up of electors in the first phase of voting is:
• Total electors: 86,13,870
• Total: 85,96,887
• Male electors: 45,76,744
• Female electors: 40,19,887
• Third gender: 256
• Total: 16,976
• Male electors: 11,501
• Female electors: 5,473
• Third gender: 2
Total number of ASD electors: 291,752
First time electors within 18-19 years of age include:
• Total electors: 328,197
• Male electors: 194,006
• Female electors: 134,134
• Other: 57
• Total number of polling stations: 9,119
• Total number of polling station locations: 7,499
• Total number of polling staff to be deployed: 44,216
• Total number of CRPF & police personnel to be deployed: 993 (Companies)
• Total number of video cameras to be deployed: 503
• Total number of Helicopter/UAV to be deployed: 5
Big names in fray today
A lot of attention has been given to the Bihar polls being a make or break for the BJP and JD(U)-RJD alliance. Everyone has been speaking of the personality clash between Narendra Modi and his former ally Nitish Kumar and how the Bihar polls will determine whose influence really counts. But take a step back and you will see that several other careers are also at stake, especially in the 2nd phase of voting that is taking place today.
By throwing his lot with the BJP, Jitan Manjhi has taken a gamble which is based on the belief that he has emerged as the voice of the Dalits and other OBC/EBCs in the state. He is contesting from Imamganj in Gaya district where he will be locking horns with Uday Narayan Chaudhary, JD(U), and from Makhdumpur in Jehanabad district where he takes on Subedar Das of RJD. His party is contesting from five other seats excluding his two. His son, Santosh Kumar Suman is contesting from Kutumba in Aurangabad district and his son-in-law Devendra Kumar is contesting from Bodh Gaya as an Independent.
Today’s voting will determine whether his self-assumption holds true or is it just a Don Quixote mirage. Success today will place Jitan Manjhi in a sweet spot as the new emerging face of the Dalits and other weaker sections of Bihar and over time could see him launching on to the national scene as well. However, a poor showing here will relegate him into political insignificance. This will also give Ram Vilas Paswan a breather, as he continues to believe that he still remains the face of the weak and downtrodden in Bihar.
Upendra Kushwaha of RLSP faces a similar dilemma. He continues to remain strong within his community and knows his limitations. He is fielding 6 candidates against 7 from HAM-S and his party’s performance too will decide his future relations with the NDA.
From BJP, former minister and senior party leader Prem Kumar will be contesting from Gaya town. It may be recalled his name was doing the rounds recently as a possible choice for the CM’s post. Gopal Narayan Singh is the other BJP heavyweight who will be put to test from Nabinagar in Aurangabad district.
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