Voting for the third and last phase of Bihar assembly elections has begun amidst tight security arrangements. Polling is being held in 78 constituencies spread over 15 districts including Kishanganj, Katihar, Madhepura and Supaul. Polling for by-election to Valmiki Nagar Parliamentary seat, is also being held simultaneously. Seven candidates are in the fray for this Lok Sabha seat.
Voting began at 7 am and it will end at 6 pm. Over 2.35 crore voters will decide the fate of 1,204 candidates including 110 women.Chief Electoral Officer H. R. Srinivasa said, polling will be held upto 4 p.m. in four Naxal-affected constituencies of Valmiki Nagar, Ramnagar, Simri Bakhtiarpur and Mahishi. Out of 33 thousand 782 Polling Stations 4,999 are considered as vulnerable. The Additional Chief Electoral Officer (ACEO) of Bihar, Sanjay Kumar Singh told AIR that elaborate security arrangements have been made to ensure peaceful and secure polling.
The Election Commission has instructed to follow COVID protocol during the conduct of polls. Every person has to wear a face mask during election related activities. Thermal scanning of all persons is being undertaken and sanitizers are also made available at all locations during the polling. All polling booths have been sanitized. In view of COVID situation, only one thousand electors will exercise their right of franchise at each Polling Station instead of 1,500.
BJP is contesting in 35 seats, Janata Dal (United)- 37, Vikassheel Insaan Party five seats and Hindustani Awam Morcha one seat in this phase. RJD is contesting in 46 seats, Congress in 25 and left parties in seven seats. On the other hand, LJP has fielded 42 candidates, RLSP-23, BSP-19 and NCP-31 candidates. The political fortunes of Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary and Chief of Vikassheel Insaan Party, Mukesh Sahni, will be decided in this phase. Twelve Ministers including Bijendra Yadav, Bima Bharati, Firoz and Ramesh Rishidev are also in the fray.
Elections are being held in three phases for the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly. The first phase of polling was held on 28th of October and the second on the 3rd of November. Counting of votes will take place on the 10th of November.
Meanwhile, repolling in three booths in Hilsa assembly constituency in Nalanda district is also being held today. The Election Commission has ordered repolling in booth numbers 52,52A and 55 in the constituency as the vehicle carrying EVMs and polling personnel had met with an accident on November 3rd, the day of the second phase of polling. After inquiry ,the commission found that the EVMs were not functional due to technical reasons.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appealed to people to vote in large numbers today in the 3rd and Final phase of Assembly polls in Bihar. In a tweet, Mr Modi requested people to participate in the festival of democracy and set a new voting record. He also urged people to wear masks and maintain social distancing.