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Polling begins for 2nd phase of Bihar polls amid tight security

623 candidates, including 46 women at 10,315 polling stations in six districts.
Patna,Polling began this morning amid tight security for the second phase of the elections to 45 Assembly seats in Bihar, under the shadow of a poll-boycott call by Maoists.
An electorate of 8.44 lakh are expected to exercise their franchise deciding the fate of 623 candidates, including 46 women at 10,315 polling stations in six districts.The Congress and the BSP are contesting all the seats. The ruling JD(U) is contesting 28 seats and its ally BJP 17. The RJD is in the fray in 34 constituencies, while LJP in 11.CPI-M and CPI have put up eight candidates each, while CPI-ML (Liberation) is contesting in 11 seats.The polling is being held in the backdrop of Maoists triggering a landmine blast in Sheohar district on Friday night killing six policemen.
The Election Commission has changed the poll timings in some constituencies after the violence.Maoists' posters have appeared on government buildings and polling stations in East Champaran, Sheohar, Sitamarhi and Muzaffarpur districts.Security has been stepped up with Nepal being sealed and patrolling on the ground and air surveillance intensified, Director General of Police Neelmani said.Political stalwarts whose fate will be decided include state RJD chief Abdul Bari Siddiqui (Alinagar), his JD(U) counterpart Vijay Kumar Choudhary (Sarairanjan), ministers Ramnath Thakur (Samastipur) and Shahid Ali Khan (Sursand).LJP supremo Ram Vilas Paswan's brother Ramchandra Paswan will be taking on CLP leader Ashok Kumar in Kusheshwa Asthan.
RJD Chief Whip Ramchandra Purve is contesting from Parihar, while former union minister M A A Fatmi's son Fraz Fatmi is in the fray from Kevati.Central paramilitary forces have been deployed at 85 polling stations besides armed police from other states and the Bihar Military Police and District Armed Police, Neelmani said.Senior state officials, including the IG and Commissioners of Tirhut Division will keep surveillance from the air with Special Task Force personnel, he said.