Starting October 28, Bihar is gearing up to go to the polls in three phases.
At stake are 243 seats and many reputations.
Voting in the first phase will be for 71 seats on October 28. The second phase will see votes being cast for 94 seats on November 3, while the final phase for 78 seats will be held on November 7.
The results are due on November 10.
The major political parties in the fray are the ruling Janata Dal (United), Bharatiya Janata Party, and Rashtriya Janata Dal. There is also RJD ally Congress, now relegated to a position below these three.
The incumbent National Democratic Alliance is led by the JD(U) Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
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In the last election, the alliance was led by the BJP with Hindustani Awami Morcha (HAM), Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), and the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) being the other partners.
The JD (U) had contested the 2016 polls as part of the Mahagathbandhan (the current Opposition) and went on to form the government after the alliance emerged victorious.
A year later, in 2017, this Grand Alliance fell apart after the JD (U) switched allegiances leading to the NDA coming to power.
In 2018, the NDA had to see two of its allies, the RLSP and the HAM, leaving it.
This year has seen a few more changes. While the HAM has rejoined the NDA ahead of the polls, the LJP has exited the alliance. It now has a minor ally in the Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP), which had opted out of the Mahagathbandhan.
The JD(U)-led NDA and the Mahagathbandhan are the only real contenders, with many insisting that even the Mahagathbandhan must be ruled out of the race.
The Mahagathbandhan (or the Grand Alliance) was formed to counter the NDA. It comprises the RJD, Congress, Communist Party of India (M-L), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India (M).
The election that is being conducted in the shadow of COVID-19 is one of the biggest electoral events in the world, the poll body had announced, while issuing the necessary guidelines.
The campaign for the Bihar election has been both virtual and physical as the authorities have also passed the guidelines over limited involvement in the rallies. But in the heat of the campaigning these guidelines have been tossed aside.
Due to the pandemic, the polling time has been increased by an hour (7 am to 6 pm), except in areas affected by maoist insurgency.