Which way will Bihar vote in in this elections? Will it pick the grand alliance of chief minister Nitish Kumar's JD(U), Lalu Prasad's RJD, Congress and the other parties opposed to the BJP? Or will it go for the BJP alliance which includes Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP, former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's HAM and Upendra Kushwaha's RLSP?
We list below all the big players in the assembly elections this time, and how they have fared in the recent past.
It is a national party.
In the 2005 assembly polls, the BJP contested 102 seats and won 55 seats with a vote share of 15.65%. Its leader Sushil Kumar Modi became the deputy chief minister.
In 2010 assembly elections, the BJP contested 102 seats and won 91 seats with a vote share of 16.46%.
Prominent leaders are Sushil Kumar Modi, Nand Kishore Yadav, Mangal Pandey, Ram Kripal Yadav, Radha Mohan Singh, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Shahnawaz Hussain, Ravishankar Prasad, CP Thakur, Shatrughan Sinha, Giriraj Singh.
Janata Dal (United)
The present form of Janata Dal (United) came into existence on October 31, 2003, with the merger of Janata Dal led by Sharad Yadav and George Fernandes and Nitish Kumar's Samata Party. The JD (U) retained its arrow symbol and the green and white flag of the merged Samata Party.
As the Samata party was already a part of the NDA since 1996, the JD(U) too came into its fold in 2003.
In the October 2005 assembly elections, the JD (U) contested 139 seats and won 88 seats with a vote share of 20.46%. It formed the government in Bihar with Nitish Kumar as the CM along with the BJP, which had won 55 seats.
In the 2010 assembly elections, JD (U) won 115 seats out of 141 it contested with a vote share of 22.61%.
Prominent leaders are Nitish Kumar, Sharad Yadav, Bashishtha Narayan Singh, Bijendra Prasad Yadav, Lallan Singh, Vijay Kumar Choudhary and PK Shahi.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)
The RJD came into existence on July 5, 1997 when Lalu Prasad was asked to resign as the chief minister after his implication in the fodder scam by the Janata Dal leadership. Lalu became its president with the support of 17 Lok Sabha MPs and eight Rajya Sabha MPs from Bihar.
RJD has a green flag and a lantern (hurricane lamp) as its symbol.
In 1998, the RJD won 17 seats in the Lok Sabha elections. In 1999, it fought the Lok Sabha polls in alliance with the Congress and managed only seven seats.
In October 2005 assembly elections, the RJD contested 175 seats but won 54 seats with a vote share of 23.45%.
In 2010 assembly polls, the RJD won only 22 seats out of 168 with a vote share of 18.84%.
Prominent leaders are Lalu Prasad, Rabri Devi, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Jagadanand Singh and Ramchandra Purvey.
Indian National Congress
It is a national party.
In the October 2005 assembly elections, it fought 51 seats and won nine seats with a vote share of 6.09%.
In 2010 assembly elections, the Congress contested all the 243 seats but could manage just four seats with a vote share of meager 8.38%.
Prominent leaders are Ashok Kumar Choudhary (state president), Sadanand Singh, Shakeel Ahmad and Nikhil Kumar.
Communist Party of India (CPI)
It is a national party.
In the October 2005 assembly polls, the CPI won only three seats out of 35 seats with a vote share of 2.09%.
In 2010 assembly elections, the CPI contested on 56 seats but won only one seat with a vote share of 1.69%.
Lok Janshakti Party (LJP)
Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) was formed in 2000 when its leader Ram Vilas Paswan split from the Janata Dal (U) and now has a considerable following.
It has a blue, red and green flag with a house as its symbol.
In the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, it won four seats in alliance with Congress and the RJD. In the UPA government, Ram Vilas Paswan became a minister.
In October 2005 assembly elections, it won 10 seats with a vote share of 11.1%.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, it could not win even a single seat. Paswan too lost from Hajipur seat.
In 2010 state assembly elections, it contested 75 seats in alliance with the RJD but won only three seats with a vote share of 6.75%.
Prominent leaders are Ram Vilas Paswan, Chirag Paswan, Pashupati Kumar Paras, Ramchandra Paswan and Surajbhan Singh.
Hindustan Awami Morcha (HAM)
Hindustan Awami Morcha was floated by former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi after his unceremonious exit from the post after a power struggle in the Janata Dal(U). The party has the support of splinter group of rebel JD(U) MLAs. Manjhi has a considerable support of Mahadalits.
Its flag and symbol are yet to be decided. It has decided to go for an electoral alliance with the BJP.
Prominent leaders are Jitan Ram Manjhi, Brishen Patel, Narendra Singh, Nitish Mishra.
Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP)
It was created on March 3, 2013, by Upendra Kushwaha, a leader from the Koeri caste with a substantial presence in Bihar. Kushwaha had earlier formed the Rashtriya Samata Party in 2009.
The RLSP had joined the NDA before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and won all the three seats it contested.
It has a white and green flag with ceiling fan as its symbol. It will fight the Bihar assembly elections for the first time later this year.
Prominent leaders are Upendra Kushwaha, Arun Kumar and Ram Kumar Sharma (all MPs).