Campaigning ended Tuesday for 48 Bihar assembly constituencies in the state's fertile belt where balloting in the third round of the six-phase elections is to be held Thursday.
The over 10-day canvassing saw top leaders of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) comprising Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) combine as well as the Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M) hitting the campaign trail.
The period witnessed war of words and was occasionally marred by personal attacks. The run-up to the election saw spirited campaigning even by BJP president Nitin Gadkari, senior leaders L. K. Advani and Rajnath Singh, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar. All of them addressed large election rallies to woo voters.
About 10.3 million voters are eligible to vote to determine the electoral fate of 785 candidates in the fray in Gopalgang, Siwan, Vaishali, Saran, East and West Champaran districts.
The heavyweights in this phase include former chief minister Rabri Devi contesting from two constituencies of Raghopur and Sonepur, Birshen Patel and Renu Devi.
There are several candidates with criminal records in the field like gangster Manoranjan Singh alias Dhumal Singh of the JD-U.
After Oct 28, the next rounds of elections will be held Nov 1, Nov 9 and Nov 20. Votes will be counted Nov 24.
The first two rounds of polls took place Oct 21 and 24.