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Bihar elections: 45.85% voter turnout recorded till 3 pm for phase III of polls

About 2.34 crore voters will decide the fates of 1204 candidates, including the Speaker and 12 members of the state cabinet.

SNS | New Delhi |

The third and final phase of legislative assembly elections in Bihar for 78 seats out of 243 begins on Saturday.

The second phase of polls for 94 assembly seats recorded 53.51 per cent turnout and the figure was likely to go up, the Election Commission had said.

Initially, the polling percentage remained sluggish with just around eight per cent voters casting their votes in the first two hours but it slowly gained momentum.

One of the factors that have dominated elections this time is that of employment raised by the opposition Grand Alliance’s chief ministerial candidate Tejashwi Yadav. In fact, he had set the agenda for election this time and never allowed the ruling NDA to divert from the real issue despite their constant efforts. He has promised 10 lakh jobs to the youths should his alliance come to power.

The NDA leaders, especially from the BJP, made unsuccessful efforts to bring controversial issues in the poll campaign such as abrogation of Article 370, CAA, Ram temple, 1947 Partition.

Apart from these, Prime Minister Narendra Modi constantly raised the issue of “Jungle Raj” and continued repeating it at his all 12 election rallies in Bihar and tried hard to whip up the fear of “Jungle Raj” if the opposition alliance was allowed to come to power. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s campaign, on the other hand, focussed his campaign over “Jungle Raj”, parivarwad, corruption and Tejashwi’s inexperience.

The CM faced an embarrassing situation at a rally during the second phase of elections when the people threw onions and potatoes at him during a rally in Madhubani.

A visibly angry Kumar stopped his speech midway and said whosoever wanted to throw things at him were welcome. The masses are said to be seething over rising inflation and losing jobs as a result of lockdown.

In a separate rally, while campaigning for a candidate of his Janata Dal United in Purnia, Bihar CM announced this to be his last elections.

“This is the last day of election. The day after this election will end and this is my last election. Ant bhala to sab bhala (All’s well that ends well),” Nitish Kumar said.

This election in Bihar is a tripartite contest between NDA – comprising BJP and JDU – while the the second and third fronts are led by Tejashwi Yadav’s JDU, supported by Congress, and Chhirag Paswan’s LJP.

However, LJP’s Paswan has maintained that he is against Nitish by has no grudges with BJP.

In a separate development, Sunil Arora, Chief Election Commissioner said, “We had to reduce voters from 1500 to 1000 per booth in Bihar polls & increase polling booths by 33,000 which meant increasing manpower deployment. But elections in India are virtual festivals of democracy in which people love to take part.”

Bihar elections are being held in three phases October 28, November 3 and 7 November and the results will be declared on November 10.