Campaigning ends for final phase of Bihar polls

Patna, Nov 3 (IANS) Campaigning ended on Tuesday evening for the fifth and final round of the Bihar assembly elections when 57 constituencies will go to the polls on Thursday.

The Election Commission has ordered sealing of Bihar's border with Nepal ahead of the election.

The two-week canvassing saw top leaders of the Grand Alliance of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the four-party alliance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi take on each other.

There were below-the-belt attacks too.

Among those who plunged into the final phase of campaigning were Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, who has been camping in Bihar for nearly a month, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Nitish Kumar, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, BSP chief Mayawati and leaders of the Left parties.

All of them addressed large election rallies.

About 1.55 crore voters are eligible to decide the fate of 827 candidates in Thursday's polling covering 57 of the 243 assembly constituencies.

The districts that will go to the polls are Madhubani, Araria, Katihar, Kishanganj, Purnia, Madhepura, Saharsa and Darbhanga.

The main electoral planks on which all parties are seeking votes include economic development, job quotas and battle against corruption.

But they did not hesitate to play the caste card.

The Grand Alliance, which includes the Janata Dal-United, the RJD and the Congress, is hoping to dominantly sway the OBCs, extreme backward castes, Dalits and Muslims.

The Modi-led alliance includes his own Bharatiya Janata Party, the Hindustani Awam Morcha, the Lok Janshakti Party and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party.

It is counting on the support of the upper castes besides a large chunk of other communities across the social strata.

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