The Bihar elections for 243 assembly seats will be held in three phases -- for 71 seats on October 28, for 94 seats on November 3, and remaining 78 on November 7. The results will be announced on November 10.
Around 7.29 crore people are eligible to vote in the Bihar polls. Out of this, nearly 78 lakh are first-time voters.
Two major alliances are in the race for power in the state:
1. National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which includes Janata Dal United (115 seats), Bharatiya Janata Party (110 seats), Vikassheel Insaan Party (11 seats) and Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustani Awam Morcha (7 seats).
2. Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) which comprises of Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal (144 seats), Congress (70 seats), CPI-ML (19 seats), CPI (6 seats) and CPI-M (4 seats).
Upendra Kushwaha-led Grand Democratic Secular Front (GDSF) and Pappu Yadav-led Progressive Democratic Front (PDF) are other alliances in the fray.
However, major politicians from the state are not contesting the polls. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, JDU state president Bashistha Narain Singh, BJP state president Sanjay Kumar Jaiswal, RJD state president Jagada Nand Singh, RLSP president Upendra Kushwaha, Jan Adhikar Party president Pappu Yadav and LJP president Chirag Paswan are not in contest.
Meanwhile, here are the key 20 candidates and their constituencies to watch out for:
1. Assembly speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhury is JDU candidate from Dalsinghsarai.
2. Former chief minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi is NDA nominee from Sherghati.
3. Agriculture Minister Prem Kumar is BJP candidate from Gaya City.
4. Education minister Krishnanad Verma is JDU nominee from Jahanabad.
5. PWD Minister Nand Kishore Yadav is BJP candidate from Patna Saheb.
6. Luv Sinha, son of Shatrughan Sinha, is Congress candidate from Bankipore.
7. Shreyanshi Singh, international shooter, is BJP candidate from Jamui.
8. Leader of opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav is contesting the polls from Raghopur.
9. Tej Pratap Yadav, former health minister and son of RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav, is contesting from Hasanpur.
10. Rameshwar Chaurasiya, former national secretary of BJP, is LJP candidate from Sasaram.
11. Usha Vidyarthi, former vice-president of BJP, is LJP candidate from Paliganj.
12. Senior RSS leader and former state vice-president of BJP Rajendra Singh is LJP candidate from Nokha.
13. Anil Kumar, former DG of Police, is JDU candidate from Bhorey.
14. Sanjeev Chaurasiya, son of Sikkim Governor Ganga Prasad Chaurasia, is BJP nominee from Digha.
15. Manorama Devi, who was jailed for storing liquor in her house, is JDU nominee from Atri. Her son is convicted on charges of kidnapping and murder.
16. Vibha Devi, wife of Rajvallabh Yadav who was sentenced for life imprisonment on charges of kidnapping and raping a minor girl, is RJD candidate from Nawada.
17. Rahul Kumar, son of a fodder scam accused Jagdish Sharma who sentenced to four years rigorous imprisonment, is NDA candidate from Ghoshi.
18. Subhashini Yadav, daughter of Sharad Yadav, is contesting from Bihariganj on Congress ticket.
19. Shubhanand Mukesh, son of veteran Congress leader Sadananad Singh who was minister, speaker and PCC president, is contesting from Kahalgaon
20. Manju Verma, former social welfare minister who was jailed following Muzaffarpur shelter home scandal, is JDU candidate from Cheriya Baryarpur in Begusarai district. Her husband is still in jail.
(With inputs from Law Kumar Mishra)