Bihar registered 53.81% voter turnout on Wednesday till 5pm, an hour before close. Polling is underway in seven Lok Sabha constituencies in the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha elections in the state.
Women voters show their voter-identity cards at a polling station before casting votes for Lok Sabha elections in Samastipur. (PTI Photo)
In round four, all three major political formations led by the BJP, RJD and the ruling JD(U) face a crucial test .
The spotlight is on the Muslim-Yadav combination of RJD president Lalu Prasad, extremely backward castes -mahadalit combination of chief minister Nitish Kumar and the Narendra Modi factor in north Bihar.
The seats where polling was underway recorded the following turnouts: Madhubani (51%), Jhanjharpur (52%), Madhepura (57%), Darbhanga (53%), Samastipur (SC) (52%), Begusarai (57%) and Khagaria (54%). Most of them fall in the flood-affected Kosi-Kamla belt.
Prominent candidates in the fray are JD(U)'s Sharad Yadav, RJD's Rajesh Ranjan (alias Pappu Yadav), former Union minister and BJP leader Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav, cricketer-turned-BJP leader Kirti Azad, and former Union minister and RJD leader MAA Fatimi, among others.
In Madhepura, JD(U) president and seven-time MP Sharad Yadav is facing a stiff challenge from RJD's Pappu Yadav and BJP's Vijay Singh Kushwaha.
Yadav has won four terms from Madhepura, the home district of BP Mandal, who was the architect of the Mandal Commission report ensuring reservation for backward castes.
He has also won twice from Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh and once from Badaun seat in Uttar Pradesh.
The fourth phase will decide the fate of 94 candidates, including five women. Around 11.2 million voters are eligible to exercise their franchise at 10,521 polling stations.
Altogether 59,000 security personnel including 145 companies of central forces, will be deployed for ensuring smooth elections.
Along with the Lok Sabha elections, a by-poll will be held in Sahebpur Kamal assembly seat in Begusarai district.
The re-poll was necessary after the resignation of former minister Parveen Amanullah from the Nitish Kumar cabinet just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
She has contested the Patna Sahib seat as an AAP candidate.
Twenty of the 40 seats in Bihar have already gone to polls. After the seven in round four, elections in the remaining 13 constituencies will be held over the last two phases on May 7 and 12.
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Full Coverage: My India My VoteHere's a map for the constituencies going to polls on Wednesday. On searching, you will get details of all parties fighting from a constituency and key candidates there:
Lok Sabha polls phase five: Key candidates