Electoral officials check the body temperature as voters enters into a polling station to cast their ballot in Thakurganj. AFP
Gulf Today Report
Polling for the third and final phase of Bihar Assembly elections began at 7am in 78 Assembly constituencies in 15 districts of the state on Saturday.
The stakes of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is up against multiple rivals, including former ally Chirag Paswan, are quite high.
An electoral official (right) checks the body temperature of a voter in Thakurganj on Saturday. AFP
Elaborate security arrangements have been made for polling, as well as norms put in place to maintain social distancing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the state election commission, more than 2.35 crore voters will exercise their franchise in this phase for which 33,782 polling stations have been set up.
According to the Election Commission, the fate of 1,204 candidates will be decided in this phase, out of which 1,094 are men and 110 women. Gaighat has 31 candidates in the fray, the maximum, while Dhaka, Triveniganj, Jokihat and Bahadurganj have nine candidates each, the minimum number.
In the third phase, voters will be able to exercise their franchise in general Assembly constituencies from 7am to 6pm while it's from 7am to 4pm in four Assembly constituencies. Security forces have been deployed at all polling booths. More elaborate security arrangements have been made in Seemanchal areas.
Among 15 districts, Kishanganj, Purnia, Araria and Katihar have dominance of the Muslim community. As per the data of the Election Commission, Kishanganj has maximum 60 per cent Muslim voters, followed by Araria with 45 per cent, Karihar 40 per cent and Purnea 35 per cent. These four districts have 24 Assembly constituencies.
Kosi has three prominent districts – Saharsa, Madhepura and Supaul – having majority of Yadav community while Muslim community is less than 20 per cent. These three districts jointly have 13 assembly constituencies.
In 2015, JU-U managed to bag 23 out of 78 seats. But it was a part of Mahagathbandhan, therefore, the Muslim community voted in support of the party. The equation is likely to change as JD-U is again a part of the NDA. RJD won 20 seats while Congress bagged 11 seats and the BJP managed to win 20 seats.
In Bihar, elections are being held for 243 assembly seats in three phases. Polling for the first phase was held for 71 seats on October 28 and that of 94 seats on Nov.3. Counting of votes will be held on Nov.10.
Millions of Indians turned out to cast ballots in a state election on Wednesday in the world’s biggest vote since the coronavirus emerged, with booths packed out and many ignoring government advice on wearing masks and social distancing.
At least 32 people, including women and children, were killed and over a dozen injured in incidents of lightning strikes across Bihar in last 24 hours, an official said on Wednesday.
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