New Delhi, Sep 9 (IANS): The Bihar Assembly polls will be held in five phases between October 12 and November 5, the Election Commission announced here on Wednesday. The counting of votes will take place on November 8.
"The Model Code of Conduct has come into force with immediate effect," said Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi.
The term of the 243-member Bihar Assembly will come to an end on November 29.
The first phase of polls for 49 seats will be held on October 12, the second phase of polling for 32 seats will be on October 16, the third phase of polling for 50 seats will be on October 28, the fourth phase for 55 seats on November 1 and the fifth and final phase for 57 seats will be held on November 5.
"The Commission has made arrangements for free and fair polls. All booths will be manned by Central paramilitary forces," Zaidi said.
In the last Assembly poll, the JD-U and BJP contested the election jointly. While the BJP contested 102 seats and won 91, the JD-U won 115 out of 141 contested seats.
Former Chief Minister Lalu Prasad's RJD contested n 168 seats but could manage to win only 22 seats.
Main target is to defeat NDA in Bihar polls, says Lalu: Meanwhile, RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Wednesday said in Patna that the main target of the grand alliance of RJD, JD-U and the Congress was to defeat the BJP-led NDA in the Bihar Assembly polls.
"Our main target is to defeat the BJP-led NDA in polls in Bihar because this is not a Bihar's election but of India's as all eyes are on it," Lalu told at a press conference here after the Election Commission announced the dates of the five-phase poll.
Lalu said the coming polls will be an acid test for the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi as their defeat was certain. "I want to appeal to people and caution them to be alert of likely distribution of fake notes by the BJP. They will bring fake notes from neighbouring Nepal. If any one is found with fake notes, it will put them in trouble," he said.
Lalu said his stand was vindicated when Prime Minister Modi and his Cabinet colleagues bowed before the RSS to present their report card.
"The BJP is a mukhauta (mask). Real face is RSS, which is controlling and running the Central government."
Asked about Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party, which walked away from the grand alliance, Lalu said,, "Mulayam Singh Yadav is not only a senior leader but also my samdhi (in-law). We will try to convince him, wait for some time..."