Bihar will go to polls in three-phase between October 28 and November 7. Results will be declared on November 10.
The Election Commission of India on Friday announced the dates to hold Assembly elections in Bihar. Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said that this would be the biggest election in the world during the coronavirus outbreak, at least in the immediate future. He said all Covid-19 protocols will be put in place for the conduct of elections in the eastern state.
Sharing the details, Arora said that the ECI would arrange masks, face shields, hand sanitiser and gloves to cut the threat of coronavirus. He said that the ECI has decided to cut the number of voters per booth. According to him, only 1,000 voters will be allowed to cast votes at one polling booth.
“Over 7 lakh hand sanitiser units, about 46 lakh masks, 6 lakh PPE kits, 6.7 lakh units of faces-shields, 23 lakh (pairs of) hand gloves arranged. For voters specifically, 7.2 crore single-use hand gloves arranged,” he said.
Arora said that the voting hour would be increased by an hour. The polling process will begin at 7 am and end at 6 pm. Also, those infected with coronavirus will be allowed to take part in the democratic exercise. He said that such patients can exercise their franchise in the last hour of the voting.
Arora said that nomination forms will also be made available online, apart from offline. Security money can also be transferred through online mode.
He said that the number of people who will accompany the candidate to file nomination papers is restricted to two people.
Campaigning rules have also been drastically changed in view of the pandemic. The poll panel said that all campaigns will have to be held through the virtual medium. No more than five people will be allowed to conduct door-to-door campaign for a candidate. There will be no large convoys in the course of campaigning. The number of convoys in roadshow will also be restricted to a maximum of five vehicles.
CEC Arora said there are 7.79 crore voters in Bihar of which 3.39 crore are women. He said strict security measures will be in place for the smooth conduct of the exercise.
A total of 1.89 lakh ballot unit EVMs will be used.
The Bihar Legislative Assembly has 243 seats of which 38 seats are reserved for SCs and two for STs. Polling will be held in three phases on October 28, November 3 and November 7. Results to the Bihar Assembly will be declared on November 10.