Phase IV of Bihar elections complete
Bihar election's fourth stage was completed on 1 November 2015. The voter turnout stood at 57.59% i.e. 14 million people exercised their right in 55 assembly constituencies. This turnout has greatly raised BJP's hopes of a win and would give NDA a lead over the OBC stalwarts. Polling in 186 out of 243 assembly constituencies has been completed in the elections.
On 9 September 2015, Election Commission declared a five phase election for the Bihar assembly starting on 12 October. The election's second phase would be held on 16 October followed by the third phase on 28 October. The 4th round would conclude on 1 November and the last phase was scheduled for 5 November. The votes would be counted on 8 November 2015.
The BJP announced 43 candidates in the 1st list for the first 2 phases. BJP made it apparent that its prime focus was on Yadav and Dalits hence posing threat to Lalu. The BJP's attempts at a "social combination of upper castes, Dalits and fragmented Yadavs and EBCs" and scheduled castes and Ravidas to thwart Nitish Kumar's chances was more than apparent.
PM Modi who is spearheading the BJP in Bihar has given a collective package of approximately Rs.1.65 lakh crores to get voters before the legislative elections.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar declared the list of 242 contestants for the Bihar assembly polls of the 'Grand Alliance'. He said that they had "ensured representation of all sections of the society. We took our time to decide the candidates,". He further quashed any rumours of a rift in the alliance. He lashed out at the BJP and RSS for being anti-reservation.
The state of Bihar gives 40 members out of 545 to the Lok Sabha and 16 out of 245 to the Rajya Sabha. The Bihar win is of extreme significance to BJP who are a minority in the Rajya Sabha. Moreover, the elections will test BJP's mettle: after the Delhi election result; this will decide if the BJP can sail through or sink.
49 assembly seats are to be covered in Phase I which included Samastipur, Teghra, Begusarai, Banka, Purnia, Bhagalpur, Khagaria, Lakhisarai, Munger, Shekhpura, Jamui and Nawada. 583 candidates will battle it out in the first phase.
In the Bihar election campaign of 2015 there was no dearth of names like "'Shaitan' (devil) to 'Brahma Pisach' (super devil) to 'Chara Chor' (fodder thief) to 'Narbhakshi' (man eater)". Lalu Prasad's "Hindus also eat beef" remark remained a favorite with Modi who accused Lalu of "insulting" the "yaduvanshis". Lalu blamed Modi for trying to invoke communal violence as did Nitish Kumar.
Nitish Kumar's cabinet minister for urban development Awadhesh Prasad Kushwaha resigned on 11 October 2015 after a video that allegedly showed him taking a bribe from a 'Bombay-based businessman' went viral. This was a huge blow to JD(U)- RJD- Congress Grand Alliance in Bihar. Kushwaha said that this was a political conspiracy and that BJP was trying to bring him down.
There was 57% voter turnout in the first phase of Bihar Assembly Elections, and the voting was peaceful. 31% of Bihar's electorate i.e. 85,000 voters are under 30 years of age. PM Narendra Modi tweeted "Urging all those voting today in Bihar to vote in large numbers. I particularly urge my young friends to cast their vote."
The II Phase (32 constituencies) and III Phase(50 constituencies) of Bihar Assembly election took place on 16 October and 28 October recording a turnout of 55% and 53% respectively.