First major election in Bihar of India since beginning of pandemic

Oct 28, 2020
Virus Outbreak India Election

An election officer wearing a face shield as a protective measure against COVID-19 election centre in Bihar. Photo: Aftab Alam Siddiqui/AP

Patna, Oct 28 : 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

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

Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to people to follow all COVID-19 norms while going to cast their votes