The campaigning for the first phase of Bihar Assembly Elections is set to end by today evening. The ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), comprising, among others, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal(United), is up against the opposition ‘Mahagathbandhan,’ comprising the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Congress and Left parties. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addressing rallies, top leaders of both the alliances are making a last-ditch effort to woo the voters as only one day is left for campaigning for the first phase of elections.
Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar is the NDA’s chief ministerial face and is engaged in holding rallies one after the another.
Several big leaders including BJP national president JP Nadda, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan will hold election rallies today, in favour of their party and allies candidates.
A total of 71 assembly constituencies spread over 16 districts will go to polls in the first phase of elections on October 28 and 31,000 polling station have been established.
As per the Election Commission, in the first phase of elections, the fate of 1,066 candidates will be decided by 2,14,6,960 voters. Security has been tightened in Naxal-affected areas.
According to the commission, the State will vote in 3 phases–On October 28, November 3, November 7 and the results will be announced on November 10.
In the past week, the parties released their manifestos and sharpened their attacks on rival parties. While BJP and JD (U) leaders are attacking RJD for its “Jungle-Raaj” (Lawlessness) in their past tenure, RJD leaders constantly pitching their pre-poll promise of providing 10 lakh jobs to youths.
Chirag Paswan, chief of the LJP–a former ally of the NDA–has been vocal in his criticism of Kumar, who is the chief ministerial candidate of the NDA. He has, however, pledged support to the Prime Minister, calling himself as “Modi’s Hanuman”.
Tejashwi Yadav has been constantly attacking and ridiculing the Chief Minister for being “physically and mentally tired”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a strong attack on RJD and its allies in Bihar and promoted NDA government’s achievements including abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and the law against instant triple talaq.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi criticised the NDA led governments at the centre and the state over unemployment, transgressions by China in eastern Ladakh and said that people of the state were yearning for a change and also alleged that the government is working for the benefit of select industrialists.
BJP is in alliance with JDU in the state and hopes to return to power in Bihar under the leadership of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The NDA is in direct contest with coalition comprising of RJD, Congress and left parties.
In 2015 Assembly polls, Nitish Kumar was the Chief Ministerial face of the Mahagathbandhan as JDU had parted ways with the NDA. However, in 2017 Nitish had returned to the NDA fold.
In 2015, RJD and JDU fought the election together as part of the Mahagathbandhan and won 178 constituencies out of the total 243.
However, differences emerged between the RJD and the JD(U) and the latter ended its association with the grand alliance after 20 months. It came back to the NDA fold in 2017.