New Delhi (Aryavarth): Voting began on 71 constituencies across 16 districts in the first phase of Bihar Assembly election on Wednesday at 7 am.
As many as 1,066 candidates are in the fray including 42 from Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), 35 from Janata Dal (United), 29 from BJP, 21 from Congress and 8 from Left parties.
A total of 2,14,84,787 electors are eligible to vote at EVMs today. Nearly half-a-dozen ministers from Nitish Kumar cabinet are in the fray in the first phase: Prem Kumar who is contesting from Gaya Town, Krishna Nandan Verma from Jehanabad, Santosh Kumar Nirala from Nirala, Jai Kumar Singh from Dinara, Ram Narayan Mandal from Banka and Vijay Kumar Sinha from Lakhisarai.
Former chief minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi is contesting from Imamganj Assembly constituency where the RJD has pitted former Speaker of Bihar Assembly Uday Narayan Chaudhary.
Among other seats going to polls in the first phase are Jamui Assembly constituency where BJP fielded Shreyasi Singh, a national shooter and the daughter of former Union minister Digvijay Singh.
The campaigning for the first phase of the high-decibel Bihar Assembly Elections ended on October 26 evening.
Bihar is witnessing a triangular contest with the ruling JDU-BJP alliance and grand alliance (RJD, Congress and others) and Chirag Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), which is eying the role of a kingmaker in case of a hung Assembly.
On one side is the NDA which includes JD-U (115 seats), BJP (110 seats), Vikassheel Insaan Party (11 seats) and Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (7 seats).
Mahagathbandhan which picked Tejashwi Yadav as chief ministerial candidate constitutes RJD (144 seats) and the Congress with 70 seats. Other alliance partners include the CPI-ML (19 seats), CPI (6 seats), and the CPIM (4 seats).
LJP is contesting 136 seats on its own and fielded candidates against all JD-U nominees and only a few against BJP.
More than 52,000 voters belonging to Senior Citizen (above 80 years of age) and PwD (Persons with Disabilities) categories have opted to exercise the facility to vote through postal ballots in the forthcoming phase 1 of Bihar Legislative Assembly elections 2020.
The Election Commission has already mandated face masks, hand sanitizers, thermal scanners, gloves, face shields, and PPE kits during the electoral process while ensuring social distancing norms.
It also laid down guidelines for each polling station, including sanitization a day before the poll, markers for social distancing, putting up of COVID-19 awareness posters, and availability of hand gloves.