New Delhi: The voting for the first phase of Bihar assembly election is underway amid tight security and COVID-19 guidelines in place. More than 2.14 crore voters in the state across 71 assembly constituencies will decide the fate of 1,066 candidates in the first phase of assembly elections. Also Read - 8-9 Children Jibe: Tejashwi Yadav Condemns Bihar CM Nitish Kumar’s Statement
In the first phase, a number of big names are trying their luck, this include eight ministers — Prem Kumar, Krishnandan Verma, Shailesh Kumar, Vijay Kumar Sinha, Jai Kumar Singh, Ramnarayan Mandal, Santosh Kumar Nirala and Brij Kishore Bind, apart from former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi. Also Read - Delhi Chalo: Rahul Gandhi Backs Protesting Farmers, Says Modi Govt Will Have To Take Back 'The Black Law'
The major contest in Bihar is between the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition parties. However, in some areas, other political parties and independents are also trying to make the competition triangular. Also Read - West Bengal: Suvendu Adhikari Resigns as State Transport Minister, Cracks Widen In Trinamool Congress
While Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) is contesting in 35 of the 71 seats, followed by its ally BJP (29), the opposition RJD has fielded its candidates in 42 seats and its coalition partner Congress is in the fray in 20 assembly segments.
Lok Janshakti Party is in the fray in 41 seats, which include all the 35 contested by the JD(U), in keeping with the call given by the young party president, who recently pulled out of the NDA in the state, to “dislodge” the chief minister from power.
A total of 31,380 polling booths have been set up. For security and the smooth conduct of the polls, jawans of central paramilitary forces have been deployed at all the polling booths.
As the polling is taking place amid the ongoing the COVID-19 pandemic, guidelines issued by the Election Commission lowers the cap on the maximum number of voters for a polling booth from 1,600 to 1,000. Further, staggering of polling hours and postal ballot facility for those aged above 80, or those afflicted with or suspected to be carrying the contagion have been encouraged.
Voters will have to go to the polls by covering their faces with a mask or a gamcha (towel). Their body temperature will be checked, their hands sanitised and then they will be allowed to vote after wearing gloves.
In Bihar, elections are being held in three phases for 243 assembly seats. The counting of votes will be held on November 10.