New Delhi : After a no holds barred high decibel campaign, it is time for the people to deliver their verdict as 49 out of the 243 assembly constituencies in Bihar go to polls on Monday in the first of the five phases.

The stakes are high for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) in this phase: His party had bagged 29 out of these 49 seats in 2010, and its then ally the BJP had secured 13. Kumar’s new partner, the RJD, had managed just four.

This time, the BSP, which does not have much influence in Bihar, has fielded a maximum of 41 candidates in the 49 seats. Next comes BJP with 27 and then follow JD (U) 24, RJD 17, LJP 13, Congress 8, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party 6 and Hindustani Awam Morcha 3. The voting trends in this phase could set the tone for the subsequent four phases as well.

According to Election Commission data, a total of 1,35,72,339 voters are eligible to decide the fate of 583 candidates for the 49 seats in 10 districts. There are 54 women nominees in the fray. Voting would start at 7 AM and would end at 5 PM in bulk of the constituencies but in the Naxalite-infested areas the closing time has been advanced to 4 PM and 3 PM on the basis of feedback about the law and order situation.

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