New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday announced that the Bihar Legislative Assembly elections will be held in three phases – October 28, November 3 and 7.
Counting of votes will be held on November 10 for the 243-member Assembly.
The conduct of the Bihar assembly polls will be the first major elections amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which is, still at its peak in the country.
With the announcement of the election schedule, the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) has come into force with immediate effect.
Announcing the schedule for the elections, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora said that in view of COVID-19, the Commission has decided to extend the poll timing by 1 hour in all constituencies except Left-Wing Extremism-hit areas
The CEC said seven lakh hand sanitizers, 46 lakh masks, six lakh PPE kits, 6.7 lakh face shields and 23 lakh pairs of hand gloves have been arranged for the Bihar polls.
On the issue of hate speech, CEC Arora said that the Commission would deal with instances of hate speech harshly.
The Commission also said that the COVID-19 patients who are quarantined will be allowed to cast their vote at the last hour of the poll day at their respective Polling Stations, under the supervision of health authorities, strictly following COVID-19 related preventive measures.
It added that there would be an earmarking circle for 15-20 persons of 2 yards (6 feet) distance for voters standing in the queue depending on the availability of space.
There will be three queues each, for male, female, and PwD/ Senior citizen voters.
Voting for the first phase on October 28 will cover 71 assembly constituencies, while the second-phase voting on November 3 will cover 94 seats. The third phase of voting on November 7 will cover 78 assembly seats. Counting of votes for all seats will take place on November 10.
In the Assembly elections, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will be seeking a fourth term.