The three-phase assembly elections will be conducted by the Election Commission of India from October 28 to November 7 in Bihar. Last month, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora announced that the counting of votes will take place on November 10.
In the first phase, the polling will be held in 71 assembly constituencies across 16 districts, while the second phase will see polling in 94 constituencies in 17 districts. Seventy-eight constituencies in 15 districts will vote in the third phase.
As per the schedule, 28 districts will have single-phase elections and 10 districts will have two phases of elections, such as Patna and Bhagalpur.
Taking into consideration the safety of voters, the timing of polling has been extended by one hour. Now, voters in Bihar will be able to exercise their franchise from 7 am to 6 pm. The last one hour has been set aside for those who have contracted COVID-19 or who are in quarantine.
To hold Bihar Assembly Elections 2020 safely, the Election Commission has reportedly arranged more than seven lakh hand sanitiser units, about 46 lakh masks, 6 lakh PPE kits, 6.7 lakh units of faces-shields, 23 lakh pairs of hand gloves.
Meanwhile, the Model Code of Conduct are currently in force and the CEC said that the Commission has already made “elaborate arrangements” for ensuring the effective implementation of MCC guidelines. Roadshows have been allowed, but they are subject to the convoys being broken after every 5 vehicles.
This time, the Election Commission has decided to hold voting across the state in just three phases so that the movement of security personnel can be minimised amid the COVID-19 situation.
“Elections entail large scale deployment of security forces. We have tried to minimise their movement over long distances. This is due to their fatigue as well as Covid-19,” said Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, announcing the schedule.
Besides, in order to ensure that the social distancing at each polling station can be followed, the EC has reduced the number of voters at each booth to 1,000. As a result of this, number of polling stations has gone up to more than one lakh. In 2015 Bihar Assembly Elections, the number stood at over 65,000.