Bihar: BJP watches closely as 32 seats up for grabs
The Bharatiya Janata Party expects to make a strong showing in the second phase of the Bihar elections on Friday, as voting began at 7am for 32 seats along the Uttar Pradesh border. The BJP needs to win the second to fourth phases as its rival, the Grand Alliance, is predicted to have a better chance in the first and fifth phases. The Grand Alliance is formed of incumbent Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United), the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress party. The BJP is fighting 16 seats in this phase, while the Hindustan Awam Morcha led by Jitan Ram Manjhi is looking at seven and Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party is contesting six seats. The HAM and RLSP are BJP’s allies in Bihar.

Maharashtra: Fadnavis says BJP-Sena alliance still strong
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday rejected claims of a rift between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena, its ally in the state government. The two parties are now looking to fight the 2017 civic polls together, he added. The relationship between the two parties has been tense in the last two weeks, after the Shiv Sena attacked former BJP man Sudheendra Kulkarni with ink and threatened to disrupt multiple cultural events in the state featuring Pakistani citizens, which was met with condemnation from its ally. On Tuesday, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray reportedly dared the BJP to quit the alliance. Fadnavis met senior Shiv Sena leaders on Thursday to address their issues, and asked them to attend a cabinet meeting with BJP ministers.

Uttar Pradesh: Seven killed in mine blast
Seven people were killed and several others injured after an explosion in a mine in Uttar Pradesh's Sonbhadra district on Thursday afternoon. Officials said explosives stored in a room at the Rasprehari mining area in Obra town went off, causing the collapse. A magisterial inquiry has been ordered. Sonbhadra has had several mining tragedies in the past. Activists have pointed out that there are several illegal mines in the area, where locals work in dangerous and unsupervised conditions.

Punjab: Protestors block Faridkot highway
Large groups of men stood with swords on the Ludhiana-Ferozepur National Highway on Thursday supporting a bandh in the state, a day after two Sikhs were killed in police firing in Faridkot. The violence on Wednesday was sparked by the alleged desecration of a copy of the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, in a village in Faridkot. There was a shutdown in several parts of the state including Bathinda, Muktsar, Mansa, Faridkot and Mullanpur. All major roads leading to these areas were blocked.

Delhi: AAP to secure Ghulam Ali concert
Members of the Aam Aadmi Party have said they will guard the venue where Pakistani singer Ghulam is scheduled to perform on November 8, after the Shiv Sena threatened to disrupt the event. The party said it will send an “army of workers” if required, and the Delhi police will be on hand to ensure the concert goes smoothly. Earlier this month, the Shiv Sena had forced organisers to cancel Ali’s concerts in Mumbai and Pune.