- RJD to contest in 143 seats, Congress in 70 constituencies: Sources
- The Left parties have been given 28-30 seats, sources said
- Grand Alliance plans to target ruling coalition over Covid crisis
The Grand Alliance in Bihar, which includes the state's main opposition parties, seems to have arrived at a consensus over seat sharing ahead of the three-phase assembly elections on October 28, November 3 and 7.
The Congress is likely to fight elections from 70 of the 243 constituencies in Bihar, sources said. Lalu Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal has landed the biggest chunk of 143 seats and will accommodate Mukesh Sahani's Vikassheel Insaan Party on 10-12 of them. The Left parties have been given 28-30 seats, sources said.
The development comes a day after filing of nominations for phase 1 started on Thursday. The last date for filing nominations is October 8. Seventy-one of the total 243 constituencies will see voting in the first phase on October 28.
The process of filing nominations is expected to pick up pace up once the major players, including the ruling National Democratic Alliance and the opposition Grand Alliance, decide on a seat sharing formula.
Many key Assembly segments go to the election in the first phase, for which the last date of withdrawal of nomination is October 12.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who heads a coalition in the state with the BJP, hopes to win a fourth term with the opposition RJD of jailed former chief minister Lalu Yadav and the Congress - his partners in the last election - challenging him.
The opposition, led by Lalu Yadav's son Tejashwi Yadav, plans to target the ruling coalition over its handling of the coronavirus crisis and the migrant crisis, besides the floods in the state. The centre's controversial farm bills, passed in parliament despite opposition protests, have also armed Tejashwi Yadav with a campaign pitch to target what he calls an "anti-farmer" government.
Voting will take place from 7 AM to 6 PM instead of 5 AM. Covid patients, suspects and those in quarantine will vote separately and there will be no physical contact during meetings and rallies, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said. Voters have to use masks and gloves. The number of phases have also been reduced from five to minimize infection. "COVID-19 patients can vote in the last hour of the day," he added.