Patna: With the second phase of Bihar Assembly elections slated to be held next week in 94 segments, both the ruling Janata Dal-United of the National Democratic Alliance and the opposition RJD of the Grand Alliance will have to sweat it out as they face a tough battle to retain their respective seats.
Elections for 243 Assembly seats were slated to be held in three phases. Polling for 71 seats has already taken place on October 28. Voting for 94 seats will be done on November 3 and the remaining 78 seats on November 7. The results will be announced on November 10.
The RJD has fielded 56 candidates in the second phase of elections, wherein it is in direct contest with the BJP on 27 seats and with the ally-turned-foe JD-U on 25 seats. The BJP is contesting 46 seats and the JD-U 43 seats.
The prestige of 27 MLAs of the Grand Alliance is on stake in the November 3 elections.
On the line will be the political future of RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav from Raghopur seat and Tej Pratap from Hassanpur seat in Samastipur district.
In the 2015 elections, the Rashtriya Janata Dal of Lalu Prasad had bagged 33 of these seats, the JD-U 30 and the Congress seven whereas the NDA had won only 22 seats.
However, a lot of water has flown down the rivers ever since. New political permutations and combinations have come into play in 2020 as compared to the 2015 polls.
Five years ago, Nitish Kumar's JD-U fought the elections in alliance with the RJD and the Congress, whereas the NDA had Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party and Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) in its camp.
In this poll fray, the JD-U has moved to the NDA camp, the LJP is fighting its own battle and the RLSP is a part of the Grand Democratic Secular Front.
Other prominent faces in the fray in the second phase are RJD leaders Alok Kumar Mehta from Ujiyarpur and Shailesh Kumar from Bihpur, former parliamentarian Anand Mohan's son Chetan Anand from Sheohar, former parliamentarian Rama Singh's wife Beena Singh from Mahnar, and Congress leader Shatrughan Sinha's son Luv from Bankipur.
So, even as a tough task seems ahead for the RJD to repeat its 2015 performance in the absence of JD-U by its side, leaders of the JD-U along with the BJP are also sweating it out to wrest the initiative from Tejashwi's party.
As both alliances slog to woo voters ahead of the November 3 elections, only time will tell who succeeded in this political game.