Rallies set to raise political heat in Bihar in coming days

Patna, Sep 28 (IANS) With less than a fortnight left for the first phase of voting in the Bihar assembly elections, star campaigners of various political parties are all set to address rallies across the state, raising the poll tempo in the coming days.

The political din in the poll-bound state has been slowly building up since the middle of September as leaders of the grand alliance and its arch rival, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, have addressed a series of rallies with each passing day.

Prominent seasoned campaigners who will address rallies in the coming days in Bihar include Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Janata Dal-United president Sharad Yadav, and Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Sitaram Yechuri.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, senior BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and over a dozen union ministers will also address voters to seek support for their respective parties.

Modi is to address at least a dozen rallies during the campaigning in the state. He addressed four public meetings even before the dates for the Bihar elections were announced.

“Modi will address two or three rallies in each phase of Bihar polls,” BJP leader Sanjay Mayunjh said.

The prime minister is likely to address a rally in Banka district on October 2, followed by more rallies.

Congress leader Sonia Gandhi too is likely to address three rallies on October 3 whereas Manmohan Singh will address two public rallies in the second week of October.

On the other hand, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad – the star campaigners for the grand alliance of the JD-U, RJD and the Congress – have already addressed over a dozen rallies in the last two days.

Lalu Prasad formally kicked off his party’s campaign on Sunday by addressing a massive rally in Vaishali in Raghopur assembly constituency, where his younger son Tejaswi Yadav is contesting.

Nitish Kumar on Saturday formally kicked off the JD-U campaign by addressing a public meeting in Kalyanpur assembly segment in Samastipur district.

“Both Lalu and Nitish will address nearly a dozen rallies in different assembly constituencies separately as well as jointly,” RJD leader Ram Chandra Purve said.

The self-proclaimed ‘Third Front’, including the Samajwadi Party of Mulayam Singh Yadav, the Nationalist Congress Party and Jan Adhikar Party of expelled RJD MP Pappu Yadav, is also in the poll fray for all assembly seats.

Besides, Left parties like the CPI, CPI-M, CPI(Marxist-Leninist), Revolutionary Socialist Party, Forward Block and Socialist Unity Centre of India have joined hands for the first time to contest all seats.

Forty-nine of the total 243 assembly seats will go to polls in the first phase on October 12.

While the JD-U and RJD will contest 101 assembly seats each, the Congress will fight for 41 seats. The BJP will contest 160 assembly seats, its allies Lok Janshakti Party 40, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party 23 seats and Hindustani Awan Morcha 20 seats.

Elections in Bihar to elect the 243-member house will be held in five stages between October 12 and November 5. Counting of votes will be taken up on November 8.

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