Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday urged the people of Bihar to vote for farmers and employment and cast their votes for Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) as polling for the first phase of Bihar Assembly polls is underway.
"This time for justice, employment, farmers and labourers...Your vote should go to Mahagathbandhan. Congratulations to all of you for the first phase of Bihar voting," the Congress leader tweeted (roughly translated from Hindi).
Voting began in 71 constituencies spread across 16 districts in the first phase of the Bihar Assembly elections on Wednesday at 7 am.
As many as 1,066 candidates are in the fray including 42 from Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), 35 from Janata Dal (United), 29 from BJP, 21 from Congress and 8 from Left parties.
Bihar is witnessing a triangular contest with the ruling JDU-BJP alliance and grand alliance (RJD, Congress and others) and Chirag Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), which is eying the role of a kingmaker in case of a hung Assembly.
On one side is the NDA which includes JD-U (contesting 115 seats), BJP (110 seats), Vikassheel Insaan Party (11 seats) and Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustani Awam Morcha (7 seats).
Mahagathbandhan which picked Tejashwi Yadav as chief ministerial candidate constitutes RJD (144 seats) and the Congress with 70 seats. Other alliance partners include the CPI-ML (19 seats), CPI (6 seats), and the CPIM (4 seats).
LJP is contesting 136 seats on its own and fielded candidates against all JD-U nominees and only a few against BJP.
Polling for the second phase to take place on November 3 and for the third phase on November 7. The counting of votes will be done on November 10.