New Delhi :
Amid tight security, counting of votes is underway for 40 Lok Sabha seats across Bihar which will decide the fates of 820 candidates, including five Union ministers. According to trends at 10 am, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is leading on 17 seats and its alliance partner Janata Dal (United) is also leading on the same number of seats.
According to Additional Chief Electoral Officer Sanjay Kumar Singh, counting of votes will take place assembly-segment wise for each parliamentary constituency.
Among the 40 constituencies, Nalanda, Begusarai, and Arrah comprise seven assembly segments each while the remaining 37 have six Vidhan Sabha segments.
Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), Kundan Krishnan, said that adequate deployment of forces has been made at all the counting centres.
Responding to a query about recent statement by former Union minister and RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha that blood will flow on the streets if the counting of votes was manipulated to favour the ruling NDA, Krishnan had said If any untoward incident happens, those indulging in lawlessness as well as those found guilty of provocation may face action.
Prominent candidates in Bihar include Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who is pitted against sitting MP and actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha in Patna Sahib. Initial trends show Ravi Shankar is leading from the seat. Union Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh is in the fray from Purvi Champaran.
Other Union ministers include Ram Kripal Yadav (Pataliputra), RK Singh (Arrah) and Ashwani Kumar Choubey (Buxar).
Another high-profile seat is Begusarai where Union minister Giriraj Singh is locked in a three-cornered fight with CPIs Kanhaiya Kumar and RJDs Tanveer Hassan. Singh is leading in intial trends.
Among the political parties, the BJP and the JD(U) have contested 17 seats each, leaving six for NDA ally LJP.
In the opposition Mahagathbandhan, the RJD has contested 19 seats giving up Arrah from its quota for the CPI (ML), followed by Congress (09), RLSP (05), HAM (03) and VIP (03).