“This is going to be the first largest election not only of the country but of the world in the era of Coronavirus,” CEC Sunil Arora said while announcing the Bihar Elections.
New Delhi| The Election Commission today held a press conference to clarify the air around conducting Bihar polls amid COVID-19 pandemic. Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora mentioned that as many as 70 countries postponed elections, but as the days passed the New Normal has set is as there are no signs of an early end of Coronavirus. “We wanted the democratic rights of the people to remain. We also had to consider their health. Today we have come here to announce Bihar elections. This is going to be the first largest election not only of the country but of the world in the era of Coronavirus. ”
There are 243 seats in Bihar. 38 seats are reserved. The term of the assembly ends on November 29. Before the date, the state has to elect a new assembly. “We had decided to keep the number of voters at a polling booth at 1000 instead of 1500. At the time of the last assembly election in 2015, there were 6.7 crore voters. Now there are 7.29 crore voters,” Sunil Arora informed adding that 1.73 lakh VVPATs, 6 lakh masks, 7.6 lakh face shields, 23 lakh hand gloves will be used.
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Voting time has been extended by one hour. Except in the Naxal-affected areas, voting will be held in between 7 am to 6 am instead of 7 am to 5 pm. For nomination, candidates will be able to take only 2 vehicles instead of 5. Corona patients who are quarantined will be able to vote only in the last hour of voting day.
Model Code of Conduct:
“As we talk, the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) stands enforced with this announcement. The Commission has already made elaborate arrangements for ensuring the effective implementation of MCC guidelines: Chief Election Commissioner,” Sunil Arora said clearing the air around the imposition of Model Code of Conduct.
Arora further added that the social media platforms are expected to make adequate arrangements to safeguard against misuse of their platforms & set up strict protocols to handle such issues as and when they arise.
The Election Commission has also decided to hold bypolls for 65 seats across several assemblies including one for Lok Sabha to fill up the vacancies. The bypolls were deferred due to excessive rains and the pandemic. It also consists of 23 seats from Madhya Pradesh that are yet to be filled since the fall of Congress govt in the state in March earlier this year.
Phases of Elections:
The Chief Election Commissioner clarified that the Bihar election will be conducted in three phases between October 28 and November 7. Counting of votes will take place on November 10.