Polling began Wednesday morning in 71 assembly constituencies of Bihar in the first phase of three-phase elections amid tight security and COVID-19 guidelines in place.
Of the total 2,14,84,787 electors eligible to exercise the franchise, 1,12,76,396 are male voters, 1,01,29,101 are female electors and 599 are in third gender category, according to data provided by the Election Commission
There are 78,691 service electors
A total of 1,066 candidates — 952 men and 114 women — are in the fray in the first phase of elections being held in constituencies spread across 16 districts.
Guidelines have been issued by the Commission for safe conduct of the electoral exercise in the midst of the raging COVID-19 pandemic
These guidelines include lowering the maximum number of voters for a polling booth from 1,600 to 1,000, staggering the polling hours and extending postal ballot facility to those above 80
— ANI (@ANI) October 28, 2020
Besides, sanitisation of electronic voting machines, wearing of masks and other protective gear by polling personnel and the availability of thermal scanner, hand sanitiser, soap and water has also to be ensured at polling stations.
As many as 33 of the constituencies going to polls in the first phase have been declared as sensitive or hypersensitive? constituencies, the poll panel said
It said 31,371 polling stations have been set up in this phase and as many Electronic Voting Machines and Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines will be used
Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters) Jitendra Kumar told PTI-Bhasha that paramilitary forces have been deployed in adequate strength at all polling stations and the buildings housing them.
The local police has also been used to supplement the paramilitary forces wherever required, he said, adding the services of home guard jawans will also be taken at polling stations for works like maintaining the queue.
He said that as a precautionary measure, all security personnel deployed on poll duty have been given a coronavirus kit which has a face mask, gloves, a face shield and sanitisers
He said special security arrangements have been made for the Naxal-affected areas. Most of the state’s Naxal-hit areas are going to polls in the first phase, he said
The administration will keep an aerial vigil also and one helicopter will be used for the purpose, he said.
The second phase voting will be on November 3, followed by the third and final phase on 7th November. The results will be declared on November 10.