Bihar Assembly Elections 2020: Phase 1 Battle Today, Voting in 71 Seats in Shadow of COVID-19 Pandemic

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Patna, October 28: Phase one of the high-stake assembly elections in Bihar will commence today, with voting set to be held in 71 out of the 243 constituencies in the state. This would be the first major polls to be held in India under the shadow of COVID-19 pandemic. The stakes involved could be gauged by the eligible electoral participation, as a total of 2.14 crore voters are cumulatively registered to vote in the 71 vidhab segments going to polls.

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Out of the total electorate eligible for voting today, 1.01 crore are female voters, whereas, 599 are from the third gender. The seats where the elections are being held in first round of the electoral battle are spread across 16 districts of the state. Bihar Assembly Elections 2020 Phase 1: Here's How to Find Your Polling Booth, Search Name in Voters List & Step by Step Guide on How to Download Voter Slip.

The voting time will begin from 7 am, and the polls will continue till 6 pm. In left-wing extremism-affected regions, the polling period has been restricted till 5 pm. The last one hour of the voting time will be reserved for COVID-19 patients.

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The total number of candidates in fray for the elections tomorrow are 1,066. The numbers include 952 and 114 female candidates. Party-wise, the maximum candidates in the fray are from the Rashtriya Janata Dal (42), followed by 41 from the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), 35 from the Janata Dal (United), 29 from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and 20 from the Congress.

For the smooth conduct of phase one elections, the polling body had earmarked a total of 31,380 polling booths. Among them, around 6,000 were marked as sensitive or highly sensitive. Constituencies are considered as naxal-affected include Rohtas, Kaimur, Jahanabad, Bhojpur, Gaya, Nawada, Nalanda and Munger.

Among candidates to watch out in the first phase of elections include several members of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Cabinet, including Krishnandan Verma, Prem Kumar, Jay Kumar Singh, Santosh Kumar Nirala, Vijay Sinha and Ram Narayan Mandal.

Shreyasi Singh of the BJP, a 27-year-old Commonwealth Gold Medalist shooter, is also a key candidate in the fray. She is contesting against sitting RJD MLA Vijay Prakash in Jamui. The battle in Imamganj has also kept the pollsters intrigued, as former chief minister and incumbent MLA Jitan Ram Manjhi is in contest against RJD veteran and former Assembly Speaker Udit Narayan Chaudhary.