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Do-or-die for Modi, Nitish as polling begins today

Do-or-die for Modi, Nitish as polling begins today
Highlights

Do-or-die for Modi, Nitish as polling begins today. After high-pitch bitter campaigning which saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the rival camps led by Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav holding a string of rallies, the stage is set for voting in 49 seats of Bihar Assembly elections in the first phase of the five-phase polls on Monday.

Battle for Bihar

Patna: After high-pitch bitter campaigning which saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the rival camps led by Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav holding a string of rallies, the stage is set for voting in 49 seats of Bihar Assembly elections in the first phase of the five-phase polls on Monday.

Additional Chief Electoral Officer R Lakshamanan said that a total of 1,35,72,339 electorate are eligible to decide the fate of 583 candidates for the 49 seats in 10 districts in the first phase of elections. Voting would start at 7 am, he said.

While in majority of seats polling would end at 5 pm, in some constituencies time has been cut short to 4 pm and 3 pm on the basis of law and order situation feedback in the Naxal-hit areas, he said.

Out of a general electorate of 1,35,72,339 there are 72,37,253 men, 63,17,602 women and 405 of third gender. Lakshamanan said out of a total of 583 candidates in the field, there are 54 women nominees.

19 crore recovered on a single day

Bihar elections first phase today

A day ahead of the first phase of voting for the Bihar assembly, the Election Commission on Sunday said about Rs.19 crore has been recovered as unaccounted money from 13 people on a single day. "Income tax authorities have informed the Commission that, after searches, approximately Rs.19 crore in Delhi and Muzaffarpur, Bihar, have been recovered as unaccounted money," the commission said in a statement.

It said over Rs.5 crore were recovered in the national capital from nine people and Rs.13.75 crore from four people in Muzaffarpur. The EC had directed the Income Tax authorities to take action following a sting operation by a TV channel last month on hawala operations related to the elections in Bihar.

Investigations were on to determine the source of the unaccounted money, the statement said. "Keeping in view the ongoing elections, identified and suspected hawala operators are kept under surveillance by the authorities," the statement added.

Anna Hazare is anti-poor, anti-Dalit, says Lalu RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav hit out at Anna Hazare over his remarks on reservation, saying the veteran social activist is in the same league as PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah who are against the poor, backward and Dalits.

"There is no difference between Annaji, Mohan Bhagwatji, Modiji and Amit Shah. They all are anti-poor, anti-backward and anti-Dalit. They are insulting Baba Saheb Ambedkar, who fought for the inclusion of Dalit rights in the Constitution," Lalu told reporters. Hazare had earlier spoken out against reservation in the country and said that it was a threat to the nation as it has become 'politically infected'.

Meanwhile, several members of the Indian community gathered at the Times Square in New York to hold discussions about the upcoming Bihar elections and voice their expectations from a future government over improving the economic and employment scenario in the state.

Dubbed as 'Litti Pe Charcha', named after a popular dish in Bihar and in a similar vein to PM Narendra Modi's 'Chai Pe Charcha', the discussion brought together over 200 members of the Indian community in the iconic tourist destination yesterday to talk about the elections and send a message to the youth in the state to exercise their right to vote.

The discussion centered around key issues impacting Bihar such as unemployment, corruption, education, poverty, migration, health, law and order and agriculture. Representing 'Vote For India' Manik Tyagi said Indians in the US are concerned over the situation in Bihar and the lack of employment even as the youth is willing to return to the state if the security situation and investment climate improves.

Anil Sharma, who represented HiPac, a large group of Non-Resident Indian (NRI) youth, talked about the underutilisation of human resources in Bihar. Others participating in the discussions said that the election is crucial for the state's future growth and economic development. Similar gatherings have been planned across the US. Voicing their support for a BJP-led government in the state, some participants said Bihar should leverage PM Modi's leadership and focus on economic development.

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