Campaigning ends for second phase of Bihar polls

Patna, Oct 14 (IANS) Campaigning ended on Wednesday evening for the 32 Bihar assembly constituencies where polling will take place in the second round on Friday.

About 8.58 million voters are eligible to decide the fate of 456 candidates on Friday.

The districts which will go to the polls are Gaya, Aurangabad, Jehanabad, Arwal, Kaimur and Rohtas.

The staggered elections to pick a 243-member Bihar assembly will end on November 5. The result will be known three days later.

Like in the first round, the main contenders for power in the second of the five phases too will be the Grand Alliance led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the BJP-led four-party coalition.

A Third Front led by the Samajwadi Party and Left parties are also contesting the election.

The second round saw hectic and bitter campaigning by leaders from both sides, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, Nitish Kumar, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Samajwadi Party as well as Left leaders.

According to the Association for Democratic Reforms and the National Election Watch, 142 candidates in the second round face serious criminal charges including those of murder.

Heavyweights on Friday include former chief minister and HAM president Jitan Ram Manjhi, who is contesting from two seats (Makhdumpur in Jehanabad and Imamganj in Gaya), assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary and BJP leader Prem Kumar, one of the contenders for the chief minister's post.

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