The Bihar assembly elections will take place from October 28 to November 7, the Election Commission of India [ECI] announced today. The counting of the votes will take place on November 10. This will be a unique election, according the ECI's press conference, as it will take place under COVID-19 safety guidelines owing to the ongoing pandemic.
With 72 million eligible voters, the Bihar election will be the largest election in the world to take place during the pandemic, said the Chief Election Commissioner of India, Sunil Arora.
The election is scheduled to take place over three phases. Arora said, "The phases reduced, and security forces increased manifold", attributing this to the pandemic and necessary safety requirements. The fewer phases this election, compared to five-phases in 2015, will also be to restrict the unnecessary movement of security forces.
- The first phase
It will take place on October 28, and will encompass 71 constituencies.
- The second phase
It is scheduled to be held on November 3, and will span 94 assembly constituencies
- The third phase
It will take place on November 7 in 78 constituencies
Due to the pandemic, polling has been extended by an hour. Polling will now take place from 7AM to 6PM. The last hour of polling will be reserved for those with COVID-19, and for those who are quarantined. To restrict campaigning, the number of cars in a candidate's convoy would be down to 5 from 10; with only 2 people accompanying a candidate to file nominations. Three people will be allowed for door-to-door campaigns. However, the ECI has ruled out on mandating campaigning to be exclusively virtual.
Safety norms, such as sanitisation, masks, social distancing and temperature checks will be mandatory during the polls.
The elections are to be concluded before November 29, when the term of the current assembly expires. The major players in Bihar are the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), the Janta Dal (United) to which incumbent CM Nitish Kumar belongs, the Congress, Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janta Dal and Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party.
Updated On: 2020-09-29T21:39:41+05:30