Patna (Bihar), Oct. 28 (ANI): Voting in the third phase of state assembly elections in Bihar got underway from 7 a.m. this morning, and it is expected that over ten million voters will exercise their franchise to elect candidates to 48 constituencies.
Security has been tightened in the constituencies where voting is taking place till 5 p.m. this evening. Bihar's border with neighbouring Nepal has been sealed to prevent untoward incidents and infiltration.
Campaigning for the third phase ended Tuesday evening.
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Lal Krishna Advani, Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad Yadav and Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) President Ram Vilas Paswan had addressed a series of election meetings in different parts of the state ahead of the poll date.
Former Chief Minister Rabri Devi, who is the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MLA from Raghopur, and her brother, Sadhu Yadav, are among the key candidates whose electoral fate will be decided in Thursday's election.
The third phase of six-phased polls in the state will also see the electoral fate of ministers Brishan Patel, Renu Devi, Ram Pravesh Rai, Gautam Singh, Vyasdeo Prasad, besides BJP general secretary Janardan Segriwal and jailed JD-U MLA Munna Shukla's wife Annu Shukla, being decided.
Chief electoral officer Sudhir Kumar Rakesh revealed Wednesday that the administration has taken all steps necessary to ensure a free and fair elections in the districts of West Champaran, East Champaran, Gopalganj, Siwan, Saran and Vaishali.
The security forces will man all 10,814 polling stations. Mounted police, river police and para military forces besides IAF choppers would patrol the areas going to the polls.
Raids and searches have been on to prevent the inflow of money and liquor in the constituencies, Rakesh said, adding that a live web-cast will be done from 293 polling stations.
The Congress and BSP have fielded candidates in all the 48 constituencies while Nationalist Congress Party has fielded 38 candidates, RJD 35, JD-U 24, BJP 24, LJP 13, CPI 10 and the CPM five nominees.
Of the 785 candidates, 65 are women with more than one women trying their luck from 18 constituencies.
These include Patepur where four women are in the fray and Ramnagar, Bhore, Zeeradei, Marhaura, Vaishali, Maharajganj and Raghopur where three women each have thrown their hat in the ring.
Zeeradei and Marhaura have the highest number of 29 candidates each while the lowest number of seven candidates are in Raxaul.
The largest assembly constituency electorate-wise is Raghopur having 2.62 lakh electors and the smallest Kalyanpur with 1,77,368 voters.
The fourth phase of election will take place on November 1 for 42 seats, the fifth on November 9 for 25 seats and the sixth on November 20 for 26 seats.
Counting of votes will take place on November 24. (ANI)