The first phase of voting of the total 3 phases for Bihar Assembly started today amid the coronavirus pandemic – which will decide if Nitish Kumar will win a fourth term as Chief Minister.
Voting is taking place in 71 of the state’s 243 seats. Nitish Kumar’s challenger is RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, whose promise of 10 lakh jobs has proved to be a huge draw in the backdrop of the lockdown and widespread unemployment. The third factor in this election is Chirag Paswan, the son of the late Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan, whose rebellion against Nitish Kumar is believed by many to be backed by the BJP. The Election Commission has drawn up elaborate safety rules for voting in the shadow of Covid.
Meanwhile. the Election Commission has issued detailed guidelines that include lowering the cap on voters for a polling booth from 1,600 to 1,000, staggering of polling hours and postal ballot facility for those aged above 80 or those infected. Electronic Voting Machines will be sanitised. Thermal scanners, hand sanitiser, soap and water will be made available for voters.