Voting Begins for Third Phase of Bihar Polls

Patna, Oct 28 (IANS) The third phase of the Bihar assembly elections to pick a new 243- member house began Thursday in 48 constituencies in the state's fertile belt where stakes are high for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Voting began at 7 a.m. amid tight security. About 10.3 million people are eligible to vote to determine the electoral fate of 785 candidates in six districts - Gopalganj, Siwan, Vaishali, Saran and East and West Champaran.

The first two rounds of polls took place Oct 21 and 24 for 47 and 45 seats respectively.

The third phase will be a test for Nitish Kumar's claims of good governance and rule of law as well as his development plank.

The ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) of Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) currently holds 27 of the 48 seats.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal-Lok Janshakti Party hold 14 seats, Congress one, Bahujan Samaj Party one, the Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist (CPI-ML) one, and Independents hold four seats in the belts.

The heavyweights in this phase include former chief minister Rabri Devi contesting from two constituencies of Raghopur in Vaishali district and Sonepur in Saran district, JD-U's Birshen Patel from Vaishali and BJP's Renu Devi from Bettiah.

The next rounds of the six-phased elections will be held Nov 1, 9 and 20. Votes will be counted Nov 24.


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Title: Voting Begins for Third Phase of Bihar Polls

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