The Election Commission of India is likely to announce the dates for the much-awaited political battle between the BJP and grand RJD-JD(U)-Congress alliance on the grounds of Bihar. The state assembly elections is expected to be held from October and end before Diwali in November.

The Bihar assembly polls is likely to be held in five phases starting from second week of October and counting is expected ahead of Diwali celebrations on 11 November, possibly in the first week of the month, The Times of India reported.

The EC is unlikely to extend the dates further as two festivals – Diwali and Chhath Puja (on 17-18 November) – that is widely celebrated in Bihar is lined up one after the other, which might cause a delay in the election process and appointment of the government as Bihar legislative assembly expires on 29 November.

The contest

Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar, hopes to return to power by defeating the BJP in the upcoming assembly elections. The political alliances are contesting for 243 assembly seats, of which 112 are with JD(U), RJD INC alliance and 94 with BJP-led NDA.

Nitish formed a grand alliance – Janata Parivar – and joined hands with Lalu Prasad Yadav after years of enmity to counter BJP in the state. Nitish's grand alliance also has the backing of Congress. Samajwadi Party had also extended its support to Nitish and joined the alliance, but later walked out of it over seat sharing.

On the other hand, BJP's NDA alliance has the support of Lok Janshakti Party led by Ram Vilas Paswan, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party led by Upendra Kushwaha and Hindustani Awam Morcha that was founded in May by Jitam Ram Manjhi after he was expelled from JD(U) in February this year for refusing to vacate the chair of Chief Minister for Nitish.

Besides, six major Left parties also joined hands on Monday to contest the assembly elections against NDA and Janata Praivar.

"We have been waiting for this moment for years. We were asked whey can't the Left parties unite. Today we have come together to make the saffron brigade of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and grand alliance of RJD-JD(U)-Congress bite dust in the Bihar Assembly polls," PTI quoted CPI(ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya as saying at people's political convention on Monday.

"We need janshasan (people's rule) and reject dushashan (poor governance) and singhasan (politics for power). The Left unity has thrown a viable alternative into the Bihar polls for lifting the state out of the morass of underdevelopment and poverty," CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said, according to Hindustan Times. 

The Left parties that have joined hands are – the Communist Party of India (CPI), CPI(M), CPI(ML), Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI)(Communist), All India Forward Bloc and Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP).