Bihar

Bihar polls in three phases, counting on November 10

File photo for representation.   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

 

Bihar Assembly polls would be held in three phases - October 28, November 3 and November 7, and votes counted on November 10, the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced on Friday.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora said the number of phases as well as the duration of the conduct of polls had been reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The polling hours had been increased, except in the Left wing extremism-affected districts, by an hour- from 7 a.m. till 6 p.m. instead of 5 p.m.

Mr. Arora said COVID-19 patients would be allowed to vote in the last hour of polling while following necessary precautions.

In the first phase, elections would be held in 71 of the 243 constituencies. The notification for this would be issued on October 1. The last date of nominations would be October 8 and their scrutiny done on October 9. The last date of withdrawal of candidature would be October 12 and polling held on October 28.

For phases two and three, with 94 and 78 constituencies respectively, the notifications would be issued on October 9 and October 13. The last date of nominations would be October 16 and October 20 and the scrutiny of nominations done on October 17 and October 21. The last date of withdrawal of candidature would be October 19 and October 23 and polling held on November 3 and November 7 respectively.

Largest poll during pandemic

With 7.29 crore electors, the polls could be largest election held during a pandemic in the immediate future, Mr. Arora said. ECI and other authorities had taken steps to make the elections COVID-19-safe. More than 7 lakh units of hand sanitisers, 46 lakh masks, 6 lakh PPE kits, 7.6 lakh face shields and 23 lakh pairs of hand gloves had been procured.

Everyone involved in election work, including the polling staff and voters, would have to wear masks. In order to reduce crowds at polling stations, the maximum number of electors a polling station had been reduced from 1,500 to 1,000, leading to the number of polling stations going up from 65,367 in 2015 to 1,06,526 now.

Persons with disabilities, electors aged above 80, essential service workers and those suspected of or positive for COVID-19 would be given the option to vote by postal ballot.

The guidelines

According to the August ECI guidelines, campaigning by political parties would have to follow social distancing norms. Candidates could be accompanied by two people instead of the usual five when filing their nominations and only five people could be involved in door-to-door campaigning at a particular place. Public meetings and rallies would be allowed at designated grounds identified by the Bihar Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), with social distancing circles marked.

Mr. Arora said the CEO had prepared a list of such grounds.

Answering a question about the potential spreading of COVID-19 during the polls, Mr. Arora said the election exercise had been meticulously worked out. “It’s a leap of faith, not a leap in the dark,” he observed.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2020 8:39:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/bihar-assembly/bihar-polls-in-3-phases-counting-on-nov-10/article32694286.ece

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