07 Nov 2020: Bihar polls: Final phase begins, PM says "set new record"
The third and final phase of Bihar polls began on Saturday, with voters queuing up at 78 of the total 243 Assembly seats to choose the next Chief Minister.
As voting started, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted an appeal, asking citizens to come out in large numbers and set a new record.
He reminded them to adhere to coronavirus-linked precautions.
Here are more details.
Areas: It is a tough battle for NDA today
In the ongoing phase, the NDA government faces a challenge in areas like Seemanchal (Kishanganj, Araria, Katihar, and Purnea), Kosi (Supaul, Saharsa, and Madhepura), Mithila (Darbhanga and Madhubani), and Tirhut (Muzaffarpur and Sitamarhi).
It is said that RJD has an upper hand in the Seemanchal belt.
However, AIMIM, whose 16 candidates are in the fray today, might eat into RJD's share.
Details: Pappu Yadav hoping to send a message to RJD
RJD could also suffer losses in the Kosi-Seemanchal region, thanks to former MP Pappu Yadav. His party Jan Adhikar Party is hoping to leave a mark in these elections and send a message to RJD. Yadav enjoys quite the clout there.
Chirag Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party has also fielded a number of candidates, posing a direct challenge to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Candidates: Sharad Yadav's daughter, ex-CM's grandson testing their luck today
The list of known politicians, testing their luck today, includes Nikhil Mandal from the JD(U) who is fielded from Madhepura. He is the grandson of the ex-Chief Minister and head of Mandal Commission, BP Mandal.
Other notable faces in the fray are Suhasini Yadav, Sharad Yadav's daughter who is fighting on a Congress ticket, and NDA ally VIP's leader Mukesh Sahani, contesting from Bihariganj and Simri Bakhtiarpur constituencies respectively.
Campaign: PM Modi addressed 12 rallies, slammed RJD regime
The high-staked polls, which come to an end today, saw intense campaigning by all the three major players — NDA, RJD-led grand alliance, and LJP.
PM Modi attended as many as 12 rallies, launched attacks on RJD's tenure, and promoted Kumar.
On Thursday, he wrote an open letter to Bihar residents, saying Kumar was "needed" to ensure the state's development continues.
Letter: I need Nitish Kumar's government for development: PM Modi
In the four-page letter written in Hindi, PM Modi said, "I need Nitish Kumar's government in Bihar to ensure that the state's development is not derailed and that it doesn't fall short."
"Votes are being cast not for false promises but for strong (political) will/intentions. Not for bad governance, but for good governance. Not for corruption, but for honesty," he told Bihar residents.
Statement: Earlier, Kumar said he was leaving politics, sparked frenzy
Just days before the final phase of polls, Kumar announced the current elections are his last, triggering surprise in political corridors.
"All is well that ends well. The day after, there is polling. This is my last election. Will you vote for the JD(U) or not?" he had said.
Later, JD(U) rushed to clarify, saying that CM was referring to the last day of campaigning.
Fact: Nobody retires from politics: JD(U) MP on Kumar's remarks
"Nobody retires from politics. He has said that this was the last day of his campaigning. Nitish Kumar will continue to work as long as the people of Bihar want," said JD(U) state President and MP Bashistha Narain Singh.
Fact: Make new record, wear masks, maintain distance: PM Modi