A survey conducted by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has sparked off a debate about the credentials of candidates in poll-bound Bihar. According to an ADR report, around 142 candidates in the fray in the state have declared criminal cases against them in their nomination affidavits.

According to a political analyst in Patna, “every political party, including the BJP and the JD(U), are claiming that their agenda is development, but this report points at something else”. The report also claims that 106 out of 456 candidates have declared themselves as crorepatis.

Fate of 456 candidates will be decided by 86,13,870 voters on Friday. While BJP has fielded 16 candidates, the HAM is contesting on 7 seats, LJP on 3 seats and RLSP on 6 seats, the onus is completely on HAM chief Jitan Ram Manjhi as the entire NDA sees him as a mahadalit face. He is contesting from two seats and on Imamganj seat he is in direct fight with JD(U) star candidate and dalit face Uday Narain Choudhary. Mr Choudhary, a sitting MLA from Imamganj, is the Speaker of Bihar Assembly and is also considered close to chief minister Nitish Kumar.

The biggest challenge for the Election Commission is the security arrangement of all 9,119 booths going to polls on Friday for the second phase. Though all the 32 seats spread out in six Naxal-infested districts are considered sensitive, more than 20 constituencies have been declared as ultra sensitive.

In order to manage the security arrangement, 993 companies of Central paramilitary forces has been deployed across the six districts going to polls on Friday.

Speaking on the issue, chief electoral officer R. Lakshmanan said “keeping in view the security and safety of the people voting in 11 constituencies will end at 3 pm”.

Despite the constituencies going for polls in second phase being Naxal-infested, voters of these areas, particularly youth and backward castes, which includes EBCs and mahadalit, have decided cast their vote “for change and development”.

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