23/09/2015 3:15 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Bihar Polls: Nitish Kumar Announces Names Of 242 Candidates Of Grand Alliance

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
NEW DELHI, INDIA - AUGUST 19: JDU leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during an interview at Hindustan Times House on August 19, 2015 in New Delhi, India. Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will campaign against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the run-up to the Bihar assembly polls. (Photo by Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday announced the names of 242 candidates of the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) for the five-phase Bihar assembly polls scheduled to be held between October 12 and November 5, after much deliberations with his alliance partners.

The grand alliance comprises the RJD, JD(U) and Congress. RJD and JD(U) will each be contesting 101 seats while the Congress will be contesting 41 seats in the 243-seat state Assembly.

Candidates from the backward classes dominate the list -- 134 candidates of the alliance are from the backward classes, reported the Indian Express. There are 39 candidates from the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes and 40 from general category. There are 33 Muslims candidates contesting the Bihar election as part of the alliance, the report said.

"Development is the biggest issue in this election. BJP talks of development, but does divisive politics, be it on lines of caste or community," PTI quoted Nitish Kumar as saying. He said candidate for one more seat will be announced in a day or two.

Election will be held to 49 of the 243 assembly seats in the first phase while counting will take place on November 8.

Kumar will retain the position of chief minister even if RJD gets more seats than JD(U), RJD chief Lalu Prasad said yesterday.

"Irrespective of who wins the largest number of seats, Nitish Kumar will be the CM of the grand alliance. Our priority is to ensure that BJP goes back empty-handed from Bihar," he told India TV.

"We took our time to decide the candidates. Everybody, even Lalu ji agreed I should announce the list of the candidates," Kumar said while releasing the list of candidates.

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