New Delhi, The elections for the 243 Assembly seats in Bihar will take place in three phases between October 28 and November 7. The counting of votes will be on November 10, the Election Commission said on Friday.
Addressing a press conference here, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said, “The Bihar elections will be held in three phases. Elections for the first phase will take place on October 28 on 71 Assembly constituencies, elections for second phase on 94 seats will take place on November 3 and third phase poll on 78 Assembly seats on November 7.”
He said that counting of votes will take place on November 10.
He also said, keeping in mind the Covid-19 pandemic, polling time has been increased by one hour. “Now the polling time will be between 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.” he said. But it would not be not applicable to the left-wing Effected (LWE) areas.
The term of the Bihar Assembly comes to an end on November 29. According to the poll panel, there are 7.29 crore voters in the state, including 3.85 crore male and 3.4 crore female voters and 1.6 lakh service voters.
In 2015 Bihar Assembly elections, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) emerged as the largest party by winning 80 seats while the ruling Janata Dal-United won 71 seats, the Congress 27. The BJP managed to win 53 seats, followed by two seats by the LJP and one seat by Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular, others won 10 seats in the state. The BJP despite winning only 53 seats got the maximum percentage of vote share with 24 per cent, followed by the RJD with 18 per cent and JD-U 17 per cent. The Congress managed to get seven per cent vote share and LJP got around 4.8 per cent vote share.
The CEC also announced a number of new measures in the view of the Covid-19 pandemic. Arora said, “Now nominations can be done online and offline also. And quarantined patients can vote at the end.”
He further said the poll panel has also revised norms of the number of persons accompanying the candidate and number of vehicles at the time of nomination. “It has also created an optional facility to fill the nomination form and the affidavit online and submission of the same, after taking a print, before the Returning Officer concerned. For the first time, the candidates will have the option to deposit a security amount for contesting the elections online,” the poll panel said.
“Keeping the containment guidelines in view, the Commission has limited the number of persons, including candidates for door to door campaign to five. Public meeting and road shows shall be permissible with suitable instructions subject to containment instructions issued by the MHA/State.
“Face Masks, Sanitizer, Thermal scanners, gloves, face shield and PPE kits shall be used during the electoral process ensuring social distancing norms. Hand gloves shall be provided to all the electors for signing on the voter registers and pressing buttons of EVM for voting,” it said.
“Covid-19 patients, who are quarantined will be able to cast their vote in the last hour of polling, at their respective polling stations, under the supervision of health authorities. This is beside the option of postal facility already extended to them,” the poll panel said.