After days of bitter campaigning, with charges and counter charges flying thick and fast between the NDA and the Grand alliance, the stage is now set for the fifth and final round of voting for 57 seats in the Bihar Assembly polls, to decide the fate of senior minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav of Janata Dal United and Rashtriya Janata Dal Legislature party leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui, among other prominent candidates.
The 57 constituencies include 24 in the Seemanchal region bordering West Bengal, and are spread over nine districts of Madhubani, Darbhanga, Supual, Madhepura, Saharsa, Araria, Kisanganj, Purnea and Katihar.
A total of 1,55,43,594 electors are eligible to vote to decide the fate of 827 candidates, including 58 women. Prominent among those whose fate will be decided in the last phase, include senior minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav of JDU (Supual), RJD Legislature party leader Siddiqui (Alinagar), Minister Narendra Narayan Yadav (Alamnagar) and Lalu Prasad’s ‘Man Friday” Bhola Yadav (Bahadurpur).
Except for two seats in Simri Bhaktiyarpur, the polling will take place on the remaining 55 constituencies as scheduled, between 7 AM to 5 PM, Additional Chief Electoral Officer R Lakshmanan said. However, in the two Naxal-hit constituencies – Simri Bhakhtiyarpur and Mahisi in Saharsa district, the poll time has been cut short by two hours, and will end at 3 PM.
Like in the previous four phases, a bitter fight has been set up between the NDA and the grand secular alliance of JD(U), RJD and Congress, in all 57 seats, for the 5th round as well, thus making the polls a really close fight.
This round would also be watched keenly to see if the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM), of Hyderabad MP Asauddin Owaisi, manages to successfully launch itself in Bihar. AIMIM has fielded six candidates in the Seemanchal area, to test poll waters in Bihar, as these areas have a large Muslim voter base.
Besides AIMIM, the impact of the third front, particularly Jan Adhikar Party of Madhepura MP, Pappu Yadav, would also be keenly watched in the Kosi belt.The Nationalist Congress Party and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha have also fielded candidates in many constituencies for the last phase.
In 2010, the BJP had bagged 23 out of the 57 seats, where elections will take place tomorrow. The JDU, which was with the BJP in the last poll, had bagged 20 seats, the RJD of Lalu Prasad 8, Congress 3, LJP 2 and Independent 1.
The BJP has fielded a maximum of 38 candidates, while LJP nominees are contesting in 11. The Rashtriya Lok Samata Party of Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha has put up candidates in five constituencies, and Hindustani Awam Morcha of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi in 3. JD (U) candidates are trying their luck in 25 seats, RJD in 20 and Congress 12.