Phase 3 of Bihar polls tomorrow, Lalu’s sons among contestants

Patna: After a brief festival break, the high voltage fight between the Grand Secular Alliance and the NDA returns to Bihar with the third phase of voting on 50 Assembly seats on Wednesday.

Voting on the 50 seats would be keenly watched across the country as it would witness battle of ballots in Mahua and Raghopur from where the two sons of RJD president Lalu Prasad are in the field.

This round of polling also covers Lalu Prasad’s political turf Saran, which has ten Assembly seats and the seven-seat Nalanda, the home district of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

The 50 seats in the third phase are spread across Patna, Vaishali, Saran, Nalanda, Buxar and Bhojpur districts.

Additional Chief Electoral Officer R Lakshamanan said a total of 1.45 crore electors are eligible to decide the fate of 808 candidates, 71 of whom are women.

Of the total 14,170 polling stations, 6,747 have been declared as critical and 1,909 as Left Wing Extremist hit polling stations.

All the booths would be manned by central forces and live webcasting would be done from 716 polling stations.

Besides Tej Pratap Yadav and Tejaswi Yadav, the two sons of Lalu Prasad, other prominent politicians whose fate would be decided in this round are BJP leader Nand Kishore Yadav (Patna Sahib), ministers Shyam Rajak and Shrawan Kumar from Phulwari and Nalanda seats respectively, Deputy Speaker Amarendra Pratap Singh (Ara) and BJP’s chief whip in the state Assembly Arun Kumar Sinha (Kumhrar).

A total of 3,228 micro observers would be deployed besides 50 general observers, 18 expenditure observers, six police and six awareness observers, the ACEO said.

1,107 companies of Central Para Military Forces and state police would be deployed on the day to ensure peaceful voting.

While 50 mounted police force would be used in general areas, 47 motor boats would be used for patrolling the riverine areas, Lakshamanan said.

While voting would start at 7 AM in all the 50 constituencies, it would end at 4 PM in ten constituencies and at 5 PM in the rest 40 constituencies, he said.

The ACEO said five helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles would be used to keep a tab on polling in the third phase.

Voting on 81 seats has already completed in the first two phases on October 12 and October 16.

Two more rounds of polling would be held on November 1 and November 5 for the 243-member Bihar Assembly. Results would be declared for all seats on November 8.