PATNA: Voting for Bihar assembly elections will be held in three phases on October 28, November 3 and November 7 in one of the biggest elections globally during the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by counting of votes on November 10, the Election Commission announced on Friday.
The poll panel, while announcing the schedule for Bihar elections, said that strict COVID-19 protocols for political parties as well as voters will be enforced so that the voting exercise is conducted in a smooth and safe manner.
Here’s how the Bihar assembly election 2020 will be much different from any other polls we have seen so far:
1. The poll paner has extended the voting period by one hour from 7 am to 6 pm, except in the Left Wing Extremism-affected areas, so that COVID-19 patients can vote in the last hour of the day. Earlier, the voting used to take place between 7 am to 5 pm.
2. The poll panel announced that Bihar assembly polls will be one of the biggest elections globally to be held during prevailing COVID-19 situation. Special protocols have been readied for voters who are COVID-positive patients.
3. Almost 7 lakh hand sanitisers, 46 lakh masks, 6 lakh PPE kits, 6.7 lakh face shields and 23 lakh pairs of hand gloves have been arranged for Bihar polls. Besides, postal ballot facility will be provided wherever required and requested. Social distancing norms will need to be followed at public gatherings during the poll campaign.
4. The number of people accompanying a candidate for submission of nomination has been restricted to two, while door-to-door campaign can have maximum five people including the candidate.
5. Number of voters per polling station has been reduced to 1,000 from 1,500 to facilitate social distancing. The move will raise the number of polling stations went from 65,337 (in 2015 Assembly elections) to more than one lakh in 2020.
6. COVID-19 patients, who are quarantined, will be able to cast their votes at the last day of polling at their respective polling stations under the supervision of health authorities, this is apart from the facility of postal ballot already extended to them.