Bihar Assembly Elections | Phase 1 sees 54% turnout

People wait outside a polling booth to cast their votes during the first phase of Bihar Assembly elections, in Gaya.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The first of the three-phase Bihar Assembly election in 71 constituencies across 16 districts ended peacefully on Wednesday, amid reports of clashes between supporters of two parties in Shahpur, Kaimur and Gaya, and electronic voting machines (EVM) not working properly in some places. 

According to the Election Commission’s (EC) Voter Turnout App, the provisional polling was 54.26% that was updated till 10 p.m. Nearly 2.15 crore eligible voters exercised their franchise, marginally lower than in 2015.

The second phase of polling for 94 seats will be held on November 3, while the third one will be on November 7 for 78 seats. Counting of votes will be done on November 10.

Bihar Assembly elections, phase 1 | Updates

FIR lodged

An FIR was lodged at the Kotwali police station in Gaya against Prem Kumar, BJP candidate and Agriculture Minister in the Nitish Kumar Cabinet, for wearing a mask with the party logo while casting his vote at a polling booth. However, Mr. Kumar later told mediapersons that “it was unintentional and he couldn’t throw attention to it as he was busy”. 

Amid the polling, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addressed three and two public meetings respectively in the State for the second phase of polls. 

Young voters in queues 

Young voters between the ages of 18 and 35 and women were mostly seen in queues to exercise their franchise at many places. There were reports of EVMs not working at some booths in the Suryagarha constituency of Lakhisarai, Paliganj and other places as polling began in the morning, but the problem was eventually rectified by poll officials.


Clashes between supporters of two candidates were witnessed in the Shahpur constituency of Buxar and Kaimur, while a candidate’s vehicle was damaged by some people in the Tekari constituency of Gaya district. Due to the pandemic guidelines, polling took place till 6 p.m. 

“Good turnout of voters even during the COVID-19 pandemic is not a good sign for the ruling NDA as people usually turn out in large numbers to vote against the present government”, said political analyst Ajay Kumar. 

As many as 1,066 candidates were in the fray for Wednesday’s polls, which took place in a total of 31,371 polling booths. The total number of electorate in this phase was 2,14,84,787. Unemployment, corruption at lower level of bureaucracy, prohibition and migration have been the main issues for voters.


COVID-19 guidelines

At some polling booths, people were seen exercising their franchise without wearing masks and without following social distancing, though at some places some of the voters and poll officials were seen following the ECI guidelines. 

Out of the 71 seats in the first phase, the RJD won 27 in 2015, while the JD(U) got 18, the BJP 13, the Congress nine and others four. Principal Opposition party RJD has nominated its 25 sitting legislators, while the JD(U) and the BJP did so for 23 and 13 seats respectively. The Congress has repeated its eight MLAs, while the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) one each.

(With PTI inputs)

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 10:25:00 AM |

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