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Stage set for final phase of polling in Bihar

February 22, 2005 15:56 IST

Security has been put on high alert and the Indo-Nepal border sealed as 93 assembly constituencies in Bihar go to the polls in the third and final phase on Wednesday.

Over 2.01crore people are eligible to exercise their franchise at 19,101 booths in the 93 constituencies spread over 11 districts.

Also see: The Battle for Three States
Notable contestants in the third phase are -- Chief Minister Rabri Devi, Leader of the Opposition Upendra Singh, Congress Legislature Party leader Vijay Shankar Dubey, Congress state unit president Ramjatan Sinha, state ministers Awadh Bihari Choudhury, Udit Rai and Indrani Devi.

The Indo-Nepal border adjoining East Champaran, West Champaran and Sitamarhi districts has been sealed to prevent
entry of trouble-makers, particularly Maoist, a senior police officer said.

A record 500 companies of para-military forces have been deployed to ensure free and fair polls, IG (headquarters) Neelmani said. Over 40,000 policemen and 50,000 Homeguards have also been mobilised.

The state government has requisitioned two choppers from the Indian Air Force for aerial patrolling in sensitive areas.
Each chopper will carry special task force commandoes led by a DSP-rank officer.

The final phase of polling in Bihar is a daunting task for the administration because a large number of candidates with criminal antecedents are in the fray.

Also see: Shahabuddin will leave jail only after polls

The district magistrates of Siwan, Gopalganj, Patna and East Champaran have externed several leaders, including ruling party's Lok Sabha members Mohammed Shahabuddin and Anirudh Prasad alias Sadhu Yadav, to ensure free and fair polls.

"Several VVIPs, including Union minister and RJD MP from Motihari, Akhilesh Prasad Singh, have been asked not to
enter the limits of the constituencies where their names don't figure in the voter list," state election office sources said.

Of the 93 seats going to the polls, RJD is contesting in 86, BJP 43, Janata Dal-United 50, Congress 33, Lok Janshakti Party 74, Bahujan Samaj Party 92, Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist three each.

Complete Coverage: Assembly Elections 2005

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