New Delhi: The Election Commission on Friday announced dates for the 2020 Bihar Legislative Assembly election. The polls will be held in three phases starting from October 28, and the counting of votes will happen on November 10, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora announced.Also Read - Bihar Elections 2020: We Are Confident That NDA Will Get Majority, Says Ravi Shankar Prasad

With the announcement of poll dates, the Model Code of Conduct has come into effect.

In the first phase, 71 Assembly seats will go to polls, spread across 16 districts, 94 Assembly constituencies in the second phase and 78 constituencies across 15 districts in the third phase.

Notably, this is the first state election to be held in the country during the coronavirus pandemic. Over 7.29 crore voters will cast their votes across 243 Assembly constituencies of Bihar, where the term of the Assembly will end on November 29.

In view of the pandemic, the number of polling booths in the state has been increased and the polling time has been increased by one hour. The polling now will be held from 7 am to 6 pm, instead of the earlier 7 am to 5 pm time frame.

Speaking about the number of polling stations to be increased, Arora said, “One of the first major steps which was taken was to reduce the maximum number of electors at a polling station from 1,500 to one thousand. As a result of this, the number of polling stations went from 65,337 (in 2015 Assembly elections) to more than one lakh in 2020.”

The ECI has also arranged sanitisers, masks, PPE kits, face shields and hand gloves for the smooth and safe conduct of the election process in the state.

“Over 7 lakh hand sanitiser units, about 46 lakh masks, 6 lakh PPE kits, 6.7 lakh units of faces-shields, 23 lakh (pairs of) hand gloves arranged. For voters specifically, 7.2 crore single-use hand gloves arranged,” he said.

In the previous Assembly elections held in the state in 2015, JDU, RJD and Congress had fought the elections together under the Mahagathbandhan banner. On the other hand, BJP led NDA had fought the elections with Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and other allies.