The region, spread over four districts, covers the northeast of the state. There will be plenty of mutli-cornered contests, with the AIMIM of Asaduddin Owaisi contesting in six constituencies.

Though the BJP-led four-party alliance and the grand alliance of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar are in direct contest in every seat, there are other players too.

These include Pappu Yadav's Jan Adhikar Party (JAP), Hyderabad MP Owaisi's All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen as well as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), whose best known leader in Bihar is Tariq Anwar.

Their presence has caused a jitter in both the main camps contending for power. The region, with 24 constituencies in Araria, Purnia, Katihar and Kishanganj districts, has a heavy Muslim presence.

Kishanganj boasts of 67 percent Muslim population, Katihar 43 percent, Araria 40 percent and Purnia 37 percent. A journey across the mostly backward region gives a sense that Muslims are divided between the Grand Alliance, JAP, AIMIM and NCP.

The smaller parties may get a slice of Muslim votes while a major chunk could go to Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United (JD-U), Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress.In the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the Bharatiya Janata Party is contesting on 18 seats, leaving six for the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) and the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM).

In the Grand Alliance, the Congress has candidates in 10 places, the JD-U in nine and the RJD in five constituencies. Owaisi's AIMIM is contesting on six seats: Amour and Baysi in Purnia district, Kishanganj and Kochadhaman in Kishanganj district, Raniganj in Araria district and Balrampur in Katihar district.

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