The Election Commission of India announced the assembly elections for Bihar today. The elections will be held in three phases, as opposed to 5 phases in the last election in the state. The dates of polls are 28 October, 3 November and 7 November. The counting of votes will take place on 10 November. Compared to the last election that extended three weeks, this elections will be wrapped up in just 10 days, a very compact schedule.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora announced that 71 seats in 16 districts will go to polls in the first phase, 94 seats in 17 districts will go to polls on the second phase, and the voting for the balance 78 seats in 15 districts will take place on the third and last phase.
With the announcement of the election schedule the model code of conduct has come into force in Bihar.
This will be the first election after the Coronavirus pandemic broke out earlier this year, therefore the EC has announced several measures to ensure social distancing. The poling time has been extended by one hour, and voters will be able to cast their votes between 7AM to 6PM. 7 lakh hand sanitisers, 46 lakh masks and 6 lakh PPE kits will be supplied by the commission for election officials to protect them from the pandemic. 6.7 lakh units of face shields and 23 lakh pairs of gloves will also be arranged.
Coronavirus patients who are in quarantine will able to vote on the last day of the voting.
The term for the current assembly in Bihar ends on 29 November this year. In the last election in 2015, the JD(U)-RJD-Congress Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) had won the election, and Nitish Kumar was re-elected as the CM. The alliance had won 178 seats out of total 243 seats in the state. The JD(U) had left the NDA in 2013 in protest against naming Narendra Modi as the PM candidate by BJP. In 2017, JD(U) terminated its alliance with RJD and Congress, returned to NDA, and formed a new govt with the alliance of BJP.