The seats are Madhubani, Jhanjharpur, Madhepura, Darbhanga, Samastipur (Reserved), Begusarai and Khagaria falling in the Kosi river belt.

Prominent among the 94 candidates are JD (U) president Sharad Yadav from Madhepura, who was being challenged by RJD's Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, former Union Minister and BJP leader Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav from Madhubani, cricketer-turned BJP leader Kirti Azad from Darbhanga and his challenger former Union Minister and RJD leader MAA Fatmi.

There are also five women nominees in fray. An electorate of 1.12 crore would exercise their franchise in 10521 polling stations.

Among star campaigners were BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi who held election meetings at Saharsa Madhubani and Darbhanga on April 24, besides party colleague Sushma.

Other campaigners were Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD president Lalu Prasad. No big leader from Congress campaigned for this phase of the elections.

While BJP sought votes to make Narendra Modi the Prime Minister, the rival parties concentrated on stopping 'communal forces'.

Polling would end at 4:00 PM in three Assembly segments of Mahisi in Madhepura and Simri Bhakhtiyarpur and Aluali in Khagaria. It would end at 6:00 PM in other places.

By-poll would also be held in Sahebpur Kamal Assembly seat in Begusarai district.

By-poll was necessitated after former minister Parveen Amanullah resigned from Nitish Kumar Cabinet and also gave up her Assembly seat to join AAP.

Altogether 59,000 personnel of the central paramilitary forces and state police and two helicopters would be deployed during the elections.

Elections are already over in 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state.

(JPN/Agencies)

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