New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) Friday announced that elections for 243 assembly seats in Bihar, the first amid the Covid-19 pandemic, will take place in three phases on 28 October, 3 November and 7 November.
The results will be declared on 10 November, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said at a press conference.
However, the dates for bypolls to 64 assembly constituencies and one parliamentary seat will be announced next week on Tuesday, after the EC reviews the objections of some states to the timing of the polls, he said.
In the first phase of the Bihar election, 71 assembly constituencies in 16 districts will vote. The second phase will involve 94 assembly constituencies in 17 districts, and, the final phase, 78 seats in 15 districts.
The EC, Arora said, has decided to reduce the number of phases from seven in the 2015 election to conclude polling quicker, an attempt to reduce the possibility of the spread of the pandemic.
‘Leap of faith’
Speaking on the EC’s decision to go ahead with the polls despite some opposition to holding elections amid the pandemic, Arora said the poll panel has undertaken meticulous planning. The decision is a “leap of faith” and not “a leap in the dark”, he added.
Arora also cited the recently held NEET and JEE exams, for which thousands of students had to travel to different cities.
Elaborating on the measures taken to contain the spread of the pandemic during polling, Arora said not more than 1,000 voters will be allowed at one polling station, down from the 1,500 limit earlier.
Further, the polling hours have been increased by an hour. Covid-positive voters can vote during the extra one hour, separately, Arora said.
Each voter would have to undergo temperature checks when entering a polling booth, wear masks, which they will have to remove briefly for identification, and also wear gloves at the time of signing the register, and pressing the EVM button for voting.
Separate guidelines will be issued for polling in containment zones, Arora said.