Three phase Bihar polls begins Oct 28

UNI. Updated: 9/26/2020 11:00:13 AM Front Page

New Delhi: Elections to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly would be held in three phases on October 28, November 3 and 7 with votes counted on November 10, the Election Commission of India announced here on Friday.
This will be the largest election in the world since the COVID-19 pandemic as over 7.6 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise across nearly 42,000 polling stations.
Addressing a press conference at the ECI headquarters here, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said during the initial phase of the virus spread, over 60 countries postponed their elections but now several countries, including the United States, have taken up the challenge.
"The pandemic has forced a new normal in all aspects of life," Arora said.
The ECI has reduced number of phases from five of 2015 to three in view of the pandemic.
As per the schedule, in the first phase of voting, 71 Assembly constituencies in 16 districts will go to polls; in the second phase, 94 constituencies in 17 districts; and in the third and last phase, 78 constituencies in 15 districts.
For the first phase,the notification will be issued on October 1 while the last date of nomination is October 8. Scrutiny of nomination will take place on October 9 and the last date of withdrawal of candidature is October 12
According to the ECI, for next phase, date of issue of notification October 9 while last date of nomination is October 16. Scrutiny of nomination is on October 17 and the last date of withdrawal of candidature October 19.
For the last phase, the date of notification is October 13 while the last date of nomination is October 20. Scrutiny of nomination is on October 21 and the last date of withdrawal of candidature October 23
With the announcement of schedule, the Model Code of Conduct has come into force.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, special arrangements have been made for campaigning as well as casting of votes.
"To decongest the polling stations and allow more movement of voters, polling time has been increased by one hour. It will be held from 7 am-6 pm, instead of 7am-5 pm earlier,’’ Mr Arora said.
However, the increased voting time will not be applicable to Left-wing affected areas, he stated.
The COVID-19 patients who are under quarantine, will be able to cast their vote at the last hour of the day at their respective polling stations, Mr Arora said.
For campaigning, special norms have been drawn up. "Social distancing norms will have to be followed at public gatherings during the election campaign," the CEC stated.
The door-to-door campaign has been restricted to five including the candidate and number of people accompanying a candidate for submission of nomination restricted to two, Mr Arora said.
For safety, more than seven lakhs units of hand sanitizers, about 46 lakhs masks, six lakhs PPE kits, 7.6 lakhs face kits, and 23 lakhs hand gloves have been arranged while a nodal health officer will also be appointed.
There are about 18.87 lakh migrants across 38 districts of Bihar, out of which 16.6 lakh were eligible to vote and 13.93 lakh had their names already on rolls. Over 2.3 lakh more migrants have registered and the process was still on, the CEC said.
The term of Bihar Assembly is due to expire on November 29, 2020. As many as 38 seats are reserved for SCs and two for STs.
In the present Assembly, 69 seats are held by Janata Dal, 54 by Bharaitya Janata Party, 73 Rashtriya Janata Dal, 23 Indian National Congress while rest by other parties and Independents. As many as 12 seats are vacant.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea seeking to postpone the elections in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bihar has so far recorded 1,74,266 COVID-19 cases and 879 deaths due to the virus.

Updated On 9/26/2020 11:00:36 AM

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