78 constituencies in 15 districts will go for polls in around 33,500 polling stations in Phase 3 on 7th November. A total of 1,411 nominations have been filed, 18 per seat. Out of 78 seats, 13 are reserved seats with SC reservation on 12 of them while the ST reserved is 1 seat.
In Phase 1 and Phase 2, 165 seats have completed polling, with one-third of assembly strength polling on 7th. Till now it has been a neck to neck contest, and Phase 3 is going to be the decider.
The districts which go to polls are Pashchim Champaran, Purba Champaran, Sitamarhi, Madhubani, Supaul, Araria, Kishanganj, Purnia, Katihar, Madhepura, Saharsa, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Vaishali and Samastipur.
In 48 of these 78 seats, the minority population is above 17% and in 6 seats the Mahadalit population is above 10%, the state average. 37 seats are in Seemanchal, 34 in North Bihar and 7 in Mithilanchal region.
RJD is contesting on 46 and Congress on 26 seats. BJP and JDU are contesting on 35 and 37 seats respectively. The highest number of head to head contests are between the captains JDU and RJD at 23. The vice captain of both teams, BJP and Congress, are locked in a keen battle in 14 seats.
BJP has announced 35 candidates for the third phase of Bihar Assembly election. The names of six women figure on the fourth list. A significant omission in the list is R S Pandey, former union petroleum secretary and sitting BJP MLA from Bagha seat. In Pranpur seat in Katihar district, the party has given ticket to Nisha Singh, wife of former state minister Vinod Kumar Singh, who died due to post-COVID complications.
Four ministers in the present NDA government, Suresh Kumar Sharma from Muzaffarpur, Krishna Kumar Rishi from Banmakhi (reserved SC) seat, Vinod Narayan Jha (Benipatti) and Pramod Kumar (Motihari) have been retained for their seats.
Neeraj Kumar Singh, cousin of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, who died recently in Mumbai, will seek re- election from Chattapur in Supual district on a BJP ticket.
Sitting JDU MLA Kapil Dev Kamat from Babubarhi has been denied tickets this year due to health reasons to accommodate Meena Kamat, the daughter in law of health minister Kapil Dev Kamat. Rajendra Yadav will contest on the ticket of Hindustani Awam Morcha from Kasba constituency.
Rebel Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav’s daughter Subhashini Raj Rao is contesting on the ticket of Congress from Bihariganj constituency.
The sitting MLA from Balrampur, Mahboob Alam, will be contesting from CPIML. Another prominent new face is, Shashi Yadav, state secretary of the party’s womens wing, All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA), who will contest Digha constituency from the alliance.
Chirag Paswan led LJP has fielded candidates for 41 assembly seats which will go to polls in the third phase of Bihar assembly elections.
The party has given tickets to many women and Muslim candidates, including Abdul Razzak, son of RJD leader Abdul Ghaffur will also be contesting on LJP ticket from Mahishi assembly segment.
In 2015, MGB had swept this Phase seats bagging 54 out of 78 seats. BJP could win only 20 and Others 4. Then JDU had contested in an alliance with RJD and Congress and had benefited. These 23 seats of JDU will be difficult to retain given the Muslim voters are unlikely to back Nitish this time due to his association with Modi.
In 2015, JDU had received 28% Muslim community support which dropped sharply to 5% during 2019 general elections when JDU made a ghar wapsi to NDA. The JD(U) had made inroads into the Muslim vote bank with several minority welfare schemes that the Nitish Kumar-led government launched.
BJP and JDU hope to repeat 2010 performance when NDA had swept the Muslim community influence seats banking on polarization of Hindu votes, split of minority vote and decent support from Pasmanda Muslims for Nitish.
In Phase 3, out of 43 sitting MLAs, NDA has denied tickets to only 8 (19%), while MGB which has 32 sitting MLAs has denied tickets to 11 (34%).
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has held rallies for this Phase where he has raked up CAA, Article 370 and Triple Talaq issues. In-fact the CMs have entered into a war of words with Nitish criticizing the language used by Yogi.
|OTH (CPIM + IND)||3|
3 of these seats witnessed tight contests in 2015 with victory margins of less than 3,000 votes. In 7 seats the victory margin was between 3 to 5,000 votes. So 10 seats had close contests. 12 of these tight contests were won by more than 5,000 votes which is considered a decent margin in assembly polls.As many as 56 seats were decided by more than 10,000 votes difference, denoting comfortable wins.
With two major contenders this time and 2-3 spoilers, and given LJP has put up many Muslim candidates, will margins reduce further, it remains to be seen? AIMIM has also put up candidates in a few seats hoping to split the minority vote.
|No. Of seats||3||7||12||56|
Given the centrality of the Muslim vote in the final phase, it is to be expected that communal rhetoric would become louder up as the election progresses. NDA has given tickets to 7 while MGB to 21 Muslim candidates.
Since 1990, Muslims, who constitute nearly 17 per cent of the total vote bank in Bihar, have stood firmly behind the RJD.
Phase 3 is a do or die battle for both the alliances.