Bihar assembly election to be held in 3 phases on Oct 28, Nov 3 & 7; counting on Nov 10

By Team BiharConnect

Assembly election in Bihar will be conducted in three phases – on October 28, November 3 and November 7 – and the votes will be counted on November 10, the Election Commission of India announced on Friday. The terms of the 243-member Bihar assembly is slated to end on November 29.

Bihar assembly election will be the first major poll to be conducted in India after the outbreak of Coronavirus disease. Bihar has 7.2 crore registered voters. In the 2015 assembly election voter turnout was around 58 per cent.

In the first phase to be held on October 28, polls will be conducted in 71 assembly constituencies. 31,000 polling stations have been set up for the first phase of the election. In the second phase, 94 assembly constituencies will go to poll with 42,000 polling stations. In the third and the last phase to be held on November 7, polling will be held in 78 constituencies. 33,500 polling stations have been set up conducting the election in the third phase.

The Election Commission of India has announced a set of new guidelines to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic challenge. The polling time has been increased by an hour. It will take place from 7 am to 6 pm. In the previous elections polling time used to be generally 7 am to 5 pm. In the sensitive areas this used to end even earlier. The voters will to have stand six feet apart at polling booths, where soaps, water, and hand sanitisers will be made available at the entry points.

“The world has changed significantly since the last elections, which were held for the Delhi assembly. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a new normal in every aspect of our life.” Sunil Arora

Talking to reporters, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said: “The world has changed significantly since the last elections, which were held for the Delhi assembly. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a new normal in every aspect of our life.”

He said the Election Commission has decided to conduct the Bihar assembly polls in time despite the Covid-19 pandemic as there is no indication of things becoming normal anytime soon. “Covid doesn’t show any sign of going down. Some way had to be found to choose representatives and protect the health of people. Life has to go on,” Arora said.

Broad Guidelines to be followed during entire election processes for all persons:

1) Every person shall wear face mask during every election related activity.

2) At the entry of hall/ room/ premises used for election purposes:

  • (a) Thermal Scanning of all persons shall be carried out;
  • (b) Sanitizer shall be made available at all locations.

3) Social distancing shall be maintained as per the extant COVID-19 guidelines of the State Government and Ministry of Home Affairs.

4) As far as practicable, large halls should be identified and utilised to ensure social distancing norms.

5) Adequate number of vehicles shall be mobilised for movement of polling personnel, security personnel to ensure compliance of COVID-19 guidelines.

In this election, a Voter Guide (in Hindi / English) shall be handed over to every elector’s household ahead of the elections, giving information about the date and time of polls, contact details of the BLOs, important websites, helpline numbers, documents required for identification at the polling station besides other important information including the Do’s and Don’ts for voters at the polling station. This Voter Guide Brochure will be distributed along with the Photo Voter Slips by the BLOs.

Campaign by the political parties/contesting candidates

1) Door to Door Campaign- Subject to any other restriction(s) including extant COVID-19 guidelines, a group of 5 (five) persons including candidates, excluding security personnel, if any, is allowed to do door to door campaigning.

2) Road Shows – The convoy of vehicles should be broken after every 5 (five) vehicles instead of 10 vehicles (excluding the security vehicles, if any). The interval between two sets of convoy of vehicles should be half an hour instead of gap of 100 meters. (In supersession of Para 5.8.1 of Returning Officer’s Handbook 2019)

3) Election Meetings – Public gatherings/ rallies may be conducted subject to adherence to extant COVID-19 guidelines. District Election Officer should take following steps for this purpose:

(a) District Election Officer should, in advance, identify dedicated grounds for public gathering with clearly marked Entry/Exit points.

(b) In all such identified grounds, the District Election Officer should, in advance, put markers to ensure social distancing norms by the attendees.

(c) Nodal District Health Officer should be involved in the process to ensure that all COVID-19 related guidelines are adhered to by all concerned in the district.

(d) District Election Officer and District Superintendent of Police should ensure that the number of attendees does not exceed the limit prescribed by State Disaster Management Authority for public gatherings.

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