Polls open in first phase of Bihar elections in 71 constituencies, 1,066 candidates in fray

Polling began Wednesday morning in 71 assembly constituencies of Bihar in the first phase of three-phase elections amid tight security and COVID-19 guidelines in place. Of the total 2,14,84,787 electors eligible to exercise the franchise, 1,12,76,396 are male voters, 1,01,29,101 are female electors and 599 are in third gender category, according to data provided by the Election Commission.

There are 78,691 service electors.

A total of 1,066 candidates — 952 men and 114 women — are in the fray in the first phase of elections being held in constituencies spread across 16 districts. Guidelines have been issued by the Commission for safe conduct of the electoral exercise in the midst of the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

These guidelines include lowering the maximum number of voters for a polling booth from 1,600 to 1,000, staggering the polling hours and extending postal ballot facility to those above 80.

Besides, sanitisation of electronic voting machines, wearing of masks and other protective gear by polling personnel and the availability of thermal scanner, hand sanitiser, soap and water has also to be ensured at polling stations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to people to follow all COVID-19 norms while going to cast their votes.

“I urge all voters to ensure their participation in this festival of democracy taking all COVID-19 related precautions. Keep do gaj ki doori (maintain a distance of two yards,) and wear mask mandatorily. Voting first, breakfast later,” he tweeted.

As the polling began, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi urged people to cast their votes in favour of the Mahagathbandhan for “justice, employment and farmers-workers”.

“This time for justice, employment, farmers-workers, your vote should be only for Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance),” Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.

“Good wishes to all of you on the first phase of Bihar elections,” he tweeted with the hashtag in Hindi Aaj Badlega Bihar.

RJD leader and Mahagathbandhans chief ministerial candidate Tejashwi Yadav urged people to vote for a better future, education, health, jobs and development for Bihar.

As many as 33 of the constituencies going to polls in the first phase have been declared as sensitive or hypersensitive constituencies, the poll panel said.

It said 31,371 polling stations have been set up in this phase and as many Electronic Voting Machines and Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines will be used.

Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters) Jitendra Kumar told


(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)

Get breaking news and latest updates from India
and around the world on thefederal.com
FOLLOW US: