The Election Commission of India will announce the dates for the assembly elections in Bihar at 12.30 pm on Friday. This will be the first state election to be held in India since the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The elections are likely to be held in mid-October, in more than one phase because of Covid-19 precautions. Bihar has to elect a new 243-member assembly by November 29.
Bihar has to elect a new 243-member assembly by November 29, 2020, as the term of the current legislative assembly comes to an end on November 29. Bihar election is the first major election that is being held in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
Along with the assembly polls, the Election Commission has also decided to hold 65 pending by-elections to fill vacancies in various assemblies and one in Lok Sabha. The bypolls were deferred due to excessive rains and the pandemic.
The Election Commission is also likely to announce the schedule for the by-election to one Lok Sabha and 64 assembly seats spread across 15 states.
The bypoll to the Valmiki Nagar Lok Sabha seat in Bihar has been pending
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who will contest the Bihar election for a fourth term with support from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has been challenged by Lalu Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress.
Amid the growing rift between NDA allies Chirag Pawan-led LJP and Nitish Kumar-led JDU, PM Narendra Modi had endorsed Nitish Kumar as the face of the NDA, saying the Bihar chief minister played a key role in taking the state on the path to progress.
BJP chief JP Nadda had also asserted that the NDA in Bihar, which also comprises JD(U) and LJP, will fought unitedly under the leadership of Nitish Kumar.
Rules of election during
Since Bihar elections will be held during the pandemic, preparations being done are different from the ones done earlier for elections held before Covid.
The EC has imposed restrictions on campaigning, saying only five people can campaign door-to-door. It has also restricted candidate convoy for roadshows to five vehicles, among other measures.
Guidelines have also been issued for polling day, with the number of polling stations being increased. A maximum of 1,000 voters being allowed to vote at a polling station. Earlier, the maximum number was 1500. All voters will also be asked to wear face masks, which they will be asked to remove briefly for identification at the time of voting.