Voting began at 7 am and it will be held till 6pm. In the first election being held amid COVID pandemic in the country over 2.14 crore voters will exercise their franchise and decide the political fate of 1,066 candidates. 114 women and 406 independent candidates are in the fray.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged voters to exercise their franchise in the first phase of voting in Bihar assembly elections. In a tweet, PM Modi asked everyone to take all necessary precautions like wearing masks and maintain do gaj ki doori.
Chief Electoral Officer H.R. Srinivasa said, out of 71 constituencies, 35 are in Naxal-affected areas. Polling will be held upto 3 p.m. in four Naxal-affected constituencies of Chainpur, Nabinagar, Kutumba and Rafiganj while in other five Naxal-affected constituencies of Arwal,Kurtha,Jehanabad,Ghosi and Makhdumpur polling will be held upto 5 p.m. In the remaining 26 Naxal-affected constituencies, voting will be held upto 4 p.m.
Additional Chief Electoral Officer Sanjay Kumar Singh told AIR News that central para military forces have been deployed in Naxal-infested areas to ensure peaceful polling.
Keeping in mind the COVID-19 situation, Election Commission has issued strict guidelines to be followed during the polling. All personnel are directed to wear mask during election-related activities. Thermal screening of all persons is being carried out and sanitizers are available at all locations during polling. All Polling Booths have been sanitized. Only 1,000 voters will exercise their franchise at each booth, instead of 1,500.
In NDA, BJP is contesting on 29 seats, JD(U) on 35 and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) on six seats in this phase. The Vikas Sheel Insaan Party (VIP) has fielded one candidate.
Among the Grand Alliance partners, RJD is contesting on 42 seats, while Congress has fielded 21 candidates and eight CPI-ML candidates are in the fray. Besides, LJP has fielded 42 candidates while RLSP on 43 and BSP on 27 seats.
This phase is crucial for RJD as the party had won 27 seats in 2015 assembly elections. JD(U) won 18 seats while BJP 13 and Congress 09 seats. 04 others were also elected.
Elections are being held in three phases for the 243-member Bihar assembly polls.
Apart from the 71 assembly constituencies that go to polls today, 94 seats will go to polls in the second phase on 3rd November and 78 seats in the third phase on 7th November. Counting of Votes will take place on November 10.