Bihar Assembly poll dates announced: All you need to know

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The Election Commission on Wednesday announced the much awaited dates for Bihar Assembly elections 2015. The election watch dog announced the poll dates for the 5-phase assembly polls that will last for nearly two months.

Here are key information regarding Bihar assembly polls:

Bihar Assembly polls: Explained

Total no. of constituencies: 243

Total no of voters: 6.68 crore

Total no. of reserved seats: 38 SC, 2 ST

Total no. of phases: 5

Important dates and constituencies:

  • 1st phase Oct 12: 49 constituencies

10 Districts - Samastipur, Begusarai, Khagaria, Bhagalpur, Banka, Munger, Lakhisarai, Sheikhpura, Nawada, Jamui

  • 2nd phase Oct 16: 32 constituencies

6 Districts - Kaumur (Bhabua), Rohtas, Arwal, Jahanabad, Aurangabad, Gaya

  • 3rd phase on Oct 28: 50 constituencies

6 Districts - Saran, Vaishali, Nalanda, Patna, Bhojpur, Buxar

  • 4th phase on Nov 1: 55 constituencies

7 Districts - Pashchim Champaran, Purvi Champaran, Sheohar, Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur, Gopalganj, Siwan

  • 5th phase on Nov 5: 57 constituencies

8 Districts - Madhubani, Supaul, Araria, Kishanganj, Purnia, Kaihar, Saharsa, Darbhanga

Counting:

Counting of votes and declaration of results will be on Nov 8 (Sunday).

Changes introduced in EVMs:

  • For the first time a candidate's images will also be present on EVMs alongside party's logo to avoid any confusion.

Security measures:

  • 243 general observers, 38 police observers, 80 paid observers to act as eyes and years of ECI.
  • 29 of 38 districts in the state are Naxal-affected i.e. 47 constituencies are affected by left wing extremism.
  • 9 central and state agencies to check movement of money, liqour or gifts.

Current party positions:

       Party             Seats won in 2010 polls           Vote per cent      
Janata Dal (United)                          115          22.6
BJP                          91          16.5
RJD                          22          18.8
LJP                          03          06.7
INC                          04          08.4

Strength and weaknesses of major parties:

JD(U):

Strength:

  • Nitish Kumar is the incumbent CM of the state. His clean image and development works for 10 consecutive years has established him as a face of change in Bihar.

Weakness:

  • JD(U)'s grand alliance with foe-turned-friend Lalu Yadav's RJD may not auger well among Bihari voters.
  • RJD's 15-year-rule in Bihar is often termed as 'darkest days' in the state's political history, hence voters might distance themselves from JDU which framed an alliance with RJD to challenge BJP's supremacy.
  • Anti-incumbency and break up from NDA might add to Nitish's cup of woes.

BJP:

Strength:

  • Party will once again try to cash on its poster boy Prime Minister Narendra Modi's charm, which was tested first in Lok Sabha polls and in subsequent state polls.
  • The recent announcement of big package for Bihar and PM Modi's frequent rallies could brighten BJP's prospects.
  • Bihar election is already being dubbed as BJP Vs all, hence BJP will try to tilt voters in its favour.
  • The saffron party is already looking strong on caste equations front after it forged alliances with dalit leader Jitan Ram Manjhi and Ram Vilas Paswan.

Weakness:

  • Excessive reliance over PM Modi's face could play a spoiler. 
  • The party has no promising leader who can compete with Nitish Kumar's development-friendly image.
  • Anti-minority statements by various BJP and VHP leaders could repel Muslim voters to come to its support.
  • The emergence of grand alliance, including JD(U), RJD and Congress, might dent the party's vote share.

RJD:

Strength:

  • The party still enjoys popularity among backward communities and Muslims.
  • Party's performance in 2014 Lok Sabha polls was better than ruling JD(U).

Weakness:

  • Lalu Yadav's 'corrupt' image might distance young and literate voters.
  • No prominent leader apart from Lalu and Rabri Devi in the party.
  • Section of RJD supporters might ditch party for they were not in the favour of an alliance with arch rival JD(U).

Congress:

Strength:

  • The party has prominent faces and national level leaders from the state and entry into grand alliance with JD(U) and RJD might just help the grand old party of India to gain lost grounds.

Weakness:

  • The party no more enjoys the same popularity in the state. The party had won just 4 seats in the previous assembly polls and won just 2 seats in last year's general elections.
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