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Bihar Assembly polls to be held in 3 phases during Oct 28-Nov 7

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 25, 2020 Published on September 25, 2020

Sunil Arora, CEC   -  PTI

Counting of votes on November 10; polling hours extended by 1 hour

Elections for the 243 seats in the Bihar Assembly will be held in three phases starting October 28 and ending November 7, the Election Commission announced on Friday. The second phase of polling will be on November 3. Counting of votes will take place on November 10.

While 71 Assembly constituencies will go to polls in the first phase, 94 AC will go to polls in the second phase and the remaining 78 AC in the third phase, the Commission announced on Friday.

During the last elections in 2015, polling was held in five phases — starting on October 12 and ending on November 6.

Addressing the media, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, said that seven lakh units of hand sanitisers, six lakh personal protection equipment sets and 7.2 crore single-use hand gloves will be available for the electorate in Bihar. In addition, there will be over one lakh polling stations. During these elections, there will be 1,000 voters per polling station, down from 1,500 previously.

Besides, senior citizens who are 80 years and above will be allowed to cast their vote through postal ballot. The Commission has also decided to hold elections to the Bihar Legislative Council in four graduates and four teachers constituencies. Polling will take place on October 22 and counting of votes will be on November 12, the EC said in a late evening announcement. Keeping in mind the prevailing conditions because of Covid-19, candidates will be allowed to file their nominations online and also deposit the security amount for contesting the polls using the online mode.

The EC has extended polling time by one hour — 7 am to 6 pm — except in areas dominated by Left-wing extremists.

The Commission said given the pandemic, social distancing norms will be strictly followed. Rallies will be allowed with District Collectors and Superintendents of Police ensuring overcrowding. Similarly, while candidates have been given the option to file their nominations online, they can also physically file their nominations; but not more than two persons, including the candidate, can come for physically filing the nominations.

Schedule for other States

Arora also said that the schedule for bypolls to 64 Assembly seats in various States and one parliamentary seat will be announced on September 29.

The Commission had earlier said that the poll schedule for the 64 Assembly and one Lok Sabha seat will be announced along with the Bihar election schedule. Arora said they were deferring the announcement for the bypolls as some states had written to the Commission seeking postponement. While the CEC did not name any state, he said there was communication from a “deep Southern” state.

Arora added that the Law Ministry is examining a proposal for enhancing the maximum amount a candidate can spend during elections during Covid times.

The CEC also said that the Commission will soon make an announcement about enhancing the amount that each candidate can spend during normal times.

Meanwhile, late in the evening, the EC said it has set October 9 as the date for holding polls for deferred by-elections to the Nizamabad Local Authorities constituency in Telangana. Counting will take place on October 12.

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Published on September 25, 2020
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