Bihar Assembly Election 2020, the first of the total three-phase poll, is set to take place today. The election in the first phase will take place across 71 constituencies with more than 2 crore voters who will decide the fate of 1,066 candidates. Guidelines have been issued by the Election Commission for the safe conduct of the electoral exercise. This is going to be the first assembly election in the country in the time of the pandemic.
All you need to know
- Of the 2.14 crore voters who will exercise their franchise, 1.01 crore are women and 599 belong to the third gender, according to data provided by the Election Commission.
- The candidates include 952 men and 114 women, the maximum number (27) being in the fray at Gaya Town, and the minimum (5) at Katoria in Banka district.
- Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) is contesting in 35 of the 71 seats, followed by its ally BJP (29), while the opposition RJD has fielded its candidates in 42 and its coalition partner Congress is in the fray in 20 assembly segments.
- Chirag Paswan is in the fray in 41 seats, which include all the 35 contested by the JD(U), in keeping with the call given by the young party president, who recently pulled out of the NDA in the state, to “dislodge” the chief minister from power.
- The Commonwealth Games gold medallist shooter who is making her debut at the age of 27 as the BJP candidate from Jamui.
- The former Union minister’s 28-year-old daughter Divya Prakash is also making her debut in the adjoining Tarapur constituency as the candidate of her father’s party.
- 6 members of the state cabinet Prem Kumar (Gaya Town), Vijay Kumar Sinha (Lakhisarai), Ram Narayan Mandal (Banka), Krishnanandan Prasad Verma (Jehanabad), Jaikumar Singh (Dinara), and Santosh Kumar Nirala (Rajpur) are in the fray in the first phase. Of the six, Verma, Singh, and Nirala belong to the JD(U), while the remaining are from the BJP.
- The JD(U) ministers seek to win their seats contending with the LJP factor.
- Verma, who has held key portfolios like education and social welfare, faces the additional challenge of wresting an RJD bastion for his party, having been asked to shift base from Ghosi where the JD(U) has fielded Rahul Kumar.
- Kumar’s father Jagdish Sharma, disqualified upon conviction in the fodder scam, had formerly represented the Ghosi assembly seat as well as the Jehanabad Lok Sabha constituency.
- The former chief minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha president Jitan Ram Manjhi, who is the NDA candidate, is the sitting MLA.
- Uday Narayan Chaudhary who had been associated with the JD(U) till a few years ago but is now in the fray as the RJD nominee.
- The guidelines for election in the covid era include lowering the cap on the maximum number of 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 afflicted with or suspected to be carrying the contagion.
- Besides, the sanitization of electronic voting machines, wearing of masks and other protective gear by polling personnel, and availability of thermal scanner, hand sanitizer, soap, and water will be ensured.