The month-long Bihar Assembly poll exercise, which is expected to be a triangular affair among the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U)-BJP ruling alliance, RJD-LJP combine and the Congress, will be set in motion ton Monday.
This is the first Assembly election during the current year and the Election Commission is leaving nothing to chance keeping in view the fact that majority of the districts in the state were hit by Naxal menace.
State Governor Devanand Konwar will om Monday issue the notification for the first phase of Assembly polls. Over 5.50 crore electors are eligible to exercise their franchise to elect a new 243-member House. The term of the Assembly will end on November 27.
The polls will be held in six phases on October 21, 24, 28, November one, 9 and 20 for the 243 seats.
47 of the seats are in 33 Maoist-hit districts and the EC has decided to deploy central para-military forces to ensure a free and fair polling. There are a total of 38 districts in the state.
Counting of votes will take place on November 24.
The bye-elections for Banka Lok Sabha seat, which fell vacant following the death of sitting MP Digvijay Singh, will be held on November one.
The election is expected to be a triangular affair with the ruling JD(U) and BJP continuing their poll alliance and Lalu Prasad's RJD and Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP joining hands to oust it from power. The Congress has announced that it will go it alone in the state, unlike in the past when it played a second fiddle to RJD.
RJD and LJP overcame last-minute hiccups and clinched an alliance, deciding to contest 168 and 75 seats, respectively.
Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar has already made it clear that that he would not contest the elections as he is already a member of the Legislative Council.
Lalu Prasad, who is being projected as the Chief Ministerial candidate of the RJD-LJP alliance, is also not contesting the polls.
Congress has not projected anyone as its Chief Ministerial candidate.
Hectic activity is on in all the three rival camps for selection of candidates.
Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi, who recently reviewed the poll preparations in the state, has expressed satisfaction over the arrangements for the conduct of the assembly elections in Bihar in a free, fair and transparent manner.