Filing of nominations for the Bihar assembly election started on Thursday when a notification was issued for the first of the three-phase election. Seventy-one of the total 243 constituencies will see voting in the first phase on October 28, though only three independent candidates turned up to file their papers on the first day.
Election Commission sources said that two candidates filed their papers in Aurangabad while one did it in Wazirganj.
Filing of nominations for the first phase will come to a close on October 8. The process may pick up momentum once the major players, including the ruling NDA and the opposition Grand Alliance, decide which seat is to be contested by which constituent.
Many key Assembly segments go to the election in the first phase, for which the last date of withdrawal of nomination is October 12.
One among the seats where contests would be closely watched is Mokama in rural Patna, where don-turned-politician Anant Singh would seek to prove a point to his former mentor, Chief Minister and Janata Dal United chief Nitish Kumar.
The first phase is also likely to be in the spotlight because of former Indian Police Service officer Gupteshwar Pandey, who joined Nitish Kumar’s party after taking early retirement.
He is expected to be fielded from one of the assembly segments in his native district of Buxar, all of which will see voting in the first phase.
Other key candidates in the first phase include Congress leader and former assembly Speaker Sadanand Singh, who has been winning Kahalgaon in Bhagalpur district on the trot, and former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi who will be looking forward to retaining Imamganj as the NDA candidate.