Voting is underway for the crucial second phase of the Bihar assembly elections in which over 2.85 crore voters are eligible to decide the fate of nearly 1,500 candidates across 94 assembly segments on Tuesday.
Polling began on October 28 in the first of three phases and votes will be counted on 10 November.
Voters are following the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare(MoHFW) prior to the election.
They are adhering to social distancing norms and wearing masks. Thermal Scanning of all persons is being carried out; sanitizer, soap and water is also available.
An estimated 3.5 lakh paramilitary and other reserve force personnel are manning the assembly election in Bihar.
This is the first time that such a massive deployment is estimated to be required due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is estimated to be more than three times the size of forces deployed in the five-phase assembly election conducted in 2015.
A high-level security review meeting was held in Patna on Tuesday evening to review the state of preparedness for forthcoming assembly elections in Bihar and to take a final call on security arrangements for peaceful completion of general elections.
Issues of increasing synergy and maintaining strong coordination among all security agencies during elections, besides ensuring full proof security around the polling stations, were discussed during the meeting.
Key electoral battleground
With some two dozen home-grown parties, including 11 new ones, in the fray this time, the state is a crucible of alliance politics.
The state assembly election has recorded a voter turnout of 32.82 per cent voter turnout till 1 pm in the second phase of the polls, as per the provisional data of the Election Commission.
Notable among the candidates is RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, the opposition Grand Alliance’s Chief Ministerial candidate, who is seeking re-election from Raghopur in Vaishali district which he had wrested back for his party from the BJP’s Satish Kumar in 2015. Also in the fray is Tejashwi’s elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav, who after shifting his base from Mahua in Vaishali is trying his luck from Hasanpur in Samastipur district.
63 seats are currently vacant in state Assemblies across the country. 54 of these will be filled in by-elections scheduled for Tuesday (November 3); voting for two seats in Manipur and one for Valmiki Nagar Lok Sabha seat in Bihar will be held on November 7.