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13.5 Million to Decide Between Modi and Nitish in Tight Fight

Published: 12th October 2015 04:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th October 2015 04:19 AM   |  A+A-

PATNA: The countdown for the bitterly fought Bihar elections begins with 49 seats in the south-eastern part of the state going to polls on Monday.  About 13.5 million voters will decide the fate of 583 candidates.

The two main rival groupings — Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP/NDA and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led Grand Alliance of JD(U)-RJD-Congress — claimed they would do well in the first phase.

While BJP’s Bihar poll in-charge Ananth Kumar claimed that the NDA would scoop up no less than 32 of the 49 seats, RJD’s star spokesperson Manoj Jha claimed their Grand Alliance would get around 35.

Reports from the ground, however, suggest a slightly different scenario. The NDA’s aggressive campaign, the PM’s successful rally in Banka, and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and his party’s Raghuvansh Prasad’s controversial remarks on beef-eating, may lower the Grand Alliance tally considerably. Like in the constituencies going to the polls in the fifth phase, in the first phase the Lalu-Nitish-Congress combine was expected to perform well. Analysts still expect the Grand Alliance to pick up anything between 22-25 seats as against 20 for NDA, with one or two for the Left, CPI in Begusarari for instance, and three to four for the Congress and a few Independents. Of the 49 seats, the BJP is contesting 27, JD(U) 25, RJD 17, LJP 13, Congress 8, RLSP 6 and HAM 3. The Left alliance is also contesting in all 49 seats.

But in the second phase of polling, in Magadh and Jehanabad areas, the NDA is expected to walk away with a lion’s share of 25-28 seats. In the third phase, it is expected to be a tough fight between the two camps.

The NDA is again expected to do better in the constituencies going to the polls in the fourth phase, while in the fifth phase the Nitish camp has an edge.

However, much will depend on how the campaign builds up, and who is able to sustain the battle in the long-run.



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