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Politics India

Bihar Assembly election dates announced

EC makes special provisions in wake of Covid, cautions against hate speech and fake news

Sabrangindia 25 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:business-standard.com

The Bihar State Assembly election dates have been announced. Polling for the mammoth 243-member assembly will take place in three phases with polling taking place on October 28, November 3 and November 7, 2020. Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora announced the dates at a press conference on Friday, September 25, 2020. With the announcement of the dates, the Model Code of Conduct comes into effect immediately.

Following are the key dates associated with each phase: 

Bihar Assembly Elections 2020: Phase 1


Date of issue of gazette notification: Oct 1

Last date of nomination: Oct 8

Scrutiny of nomination: Oct 9

Last date of withdrawal of candidature: Oct 12

Date of polling: Oct 28

Date of counting: Nov 10

 

Bihar Assembly Elections 2020: Phase 2


Date of issue of gazette notification: Oct 9

Last date of nomination: Oct 16

Scrutiny of nomination: Oct 17

Last date of withdrawal of candidature: Oct 19

Date of polling: Nov 3

Date of counting: Nov 10


Bihar Assembly Elections 2020: Phase 3
 

Date of issue of gazette notification: Oct 13

Last date of nomination: Oct 20

Scrutiny of nomination: Oct 21

Last date of withdrawal of candidature: Oct 23

Date of polling: Nov 7

Date of counting: Nov 10

At present Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal United, leads a coalition government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM). The Opposition is led by Tejashwi Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). Yadav is the son of two former Bihar Chief Ministers Laloo Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi. Of the 243 seats, 38 are reserved for Scheduled Castes and two for Scheduled Tribes.

Over 72 lakh eligible voters are expected to vote at more than one lakh polling stations. The number of polling stations was increased to decongest them. Therefore, while earlier 1,500 electors voted at one polling station, this year the number has been capped to 1,000. Moreover, the duration of the voting period has been increased by one hour. Voting will now be held from 7 A.M to 6 P.M.

Polling in the times of Corona

Special provisions are being made to ensure the smooth conduct of elections amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. These include arrangements for over 7 lakh units of hand sanitisers, 46 lakh masks, 6 lakh PPE kits, 6.7 lakh units of faces-shields and 23 lakh (pairs of) hand gloves. In fact, 7.2 crore single-use hand gloves have been arranged for voters.

Additionally, a provision has been made for filing nomination papers online, though the offline option is still available. However, the number of people accompanying the candidate during filing nominations has been restricted to just two people. Moreover, candidates can now transfer their security deposit online as well. When it comes to door-to-door campaigning, the number of people has been restricted to five persons.

Additionally, people who are Covid positive can avail benefits of the postal ballot. If they want to vote in person, they can do so in the last hour at their designated polling booth. Senior citizens over the age of 80 can vote via postal ballot. Person with disabilities can also avail the facility, or utilize the provision of free passes to public transport on polling day. It has also been announced that all polling stations will be located on ground level and have wheeelchairs available to facilitate ease of voting for persons with disabilities.

CEC Sunil Arora also raised concerns over the proliferation of hate speech and fake news via social media. He said, “Adverse use of social media has emerged a challenged in the recent times. Digital platforms are dealth with sternly. We would like to make it clear that anyone who makes mysterious use of social media for electoral purpose shall face the consequences under the law.”

Impact of protests and other political machinations

The announcement of polling dates took place on a day when peasants and workers are agitating against anti-people policies of the regime. Recently, the government passed three key agriculture bills in the Parliament without discussion. All of these bills appear to pander to the corporate lobby even as they adversely impact rights of farmers, especially those who are small or marginal farmers. Farmers in Bihar are likely to bear brunt of these ‘anti-farmer’ policies of the state. Cashing in on the chance of a photo-op, Tejashwi Yadav was seen riding a tractor to show support for farmers’ rights. Meanwhile, HAM leader Jitin Ram Manjhi has already distanced himself from the opposition alliance. Now, RLSP leader Upendra Kushawa has openly said that Yadav’s leadership is unacceptable to him.

There is no dearth of drama amidst the ruling coalition either with LJP’s Chirag Paswan openly challenging Nitish Kumar, especially in wake of Jitin Ram Manjhi switching sides. Manjhi’s vote base is identical to that of Paswan. Nitish Kumar himself has been swinging partners; first embracing the BJP, then switching allegiance to the RJD, and then running back to the BJP.

Needless to say, in the coming days, we will see a lot of political posturing and back-channel negotiations by leaders on both sides, in order to ensure the seat-sharing arithmetic best suited to them. Will any of this actually benefit impoverished famers and lakhs of migrant workers who have returned to Bihar in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and now face an uncertain future, remains to be seen.

Related:

Agricultural Bills passed sans votes! Nation-wide, farmers rise in anger, Oppn United
Bihar police shower bullets and lathis on Adivasis in Kaimur!
This is about two different versions of our democracy: Manoj K Jha

Bihar Assembly election dates announced

EC makes special provisions in wake of Covid, cautions against hate speech and fake news

Image Courtesy:business-standard.com

The Bihar State Assembly election dates have been announced. Polling for the mammoth 243-member assembly will take place in three phases with polling taking place on October 28, November 3 and November 7, 2020. Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora announced the dates at a press conference on Friday, September 25, 2020. With the announcement of the dates, the Model Code of Conduct comes into effect immediately.

Following are the key dates associated with each phase: 

Bihar Assembly Elections 2020: Phase 1


Date of issue of gazette notification: Oct 1

Last date of nomination: Oct 8

Scrutiny of nomination: Oct 9

Last date of withdrawal of candidature: Oct 12

Date of polling: Oct 28

Date of counting: Nov 10

 

Bihar Assembly Elections 2020: Phase 2


Date of issue of gazette notification: Oct 9

Last date of nomination: Oct 16

Scrutiny of nomination: Oct 17

Last date of withdrawal of candidature: Oct 19

Date of polling: Nov 3

Date of counting: Nov 10


Bihar Assembly Elections 2020: Phase 3
 

Date of issue of gazette notification: Oct 13

Last date of nomination: Oct 20

Scrutiny of nomination: Oct 21

Last date of withdrawal of candidature: Oct 23

Date of polling: Nov 7

Date of counting: Nov 10

At present Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal United, leads a coalition government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM). The Opposition is led by Tejashwi Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). Yadav is the son of two former Bihar Chief Ministers Laloo Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi. Of the 243 seats, 38 are reserved for Scheduled Castes and two for Scheduled Tribes.

Over 72 lakh eligible voters are expected to vote at more than one lakh polling stations. The number of polling stations was increased to decongest them. Therefore, while earlier 1,500 electors voted at one polling station, this year the number has been capped to 1,000. Moreover, the duration of the voting period has been increased by one hour. Voting will now be held from 7 A.M to 6 P.M.

Polling in the times of Corona

Special provisions are being made to ensure the smooth conduct of elections amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. These include arrangements for over 7 lakh units of hand sanitisers, 46 lakh masks, 6 lakh PPE kits, 6.7 lakh units of faces-shields and 23 lakh (pairs of) hand gloves. In fact, 7.2 crore single-use hand gloves have been arranged for voters.

Additionally, a provision has been made for filing nomination papers online, though the offline option is still available. However, the number of people accompanying the candidate during filing nominations has been restricted to just two people. Moreover, candidates can now transfer their security deposit online as well. When it comes to door-to-door campaigning, the number of people has been restricted to five persons.

Additionally, people who are Covid positive can avail benefits of the postal ballot. If they want to vote in person, they can do so in the last hour at their designated polling booth. Senior citizens over the age of 80 can vote via postal ballot. Person with disabilities can also avail the facility, or utilize the provision of free passes to public transport on polling day. It has also been announced that all polling stations will be located on ground level and have wheeelchairs available to facilitate ease of voting for persons with disabilities.

CEC Sunil Arora also raised concerns over the proliferation of hate speech and fake news via social media. He said, “Adverse use of social media has emerged a challenged in the recent times. Digital platforms are dealth with sternly. We would like to make it clear that anyone who makes mysterious use of social media for electoral purpose shall face the consequences under the law.”

Impact of protests and other political machinations

The announcement of polling dates took place on a day when peasants and workers are agitating against anti-people policies of the regime. Recently, the government passed three key agriculture bills in the Parliament without discussion. All of these bills appear to pander to the corporate lobby even as they adversely impact rights of farmers, especially those who are small or marginal farmers. Farmers in Bihar are likely to bear brunt of these ‘anti-farmer’ policies of the state. Cashing in on the chance of a photo-op, Tejashwi Yadav was seen riding a tractor to show support for farmers’ rights. Meanwhile, HAM leader Jitin Ram Manjhi has already distanced himself from the opposition alliance. Now, RLSP leader Upendra Kushawa has openly said that Yadav’s leadership is unacceptable to him.

There is no dearth of drama amidst the ruling coalition either with LJP’s Chirag Paswan openly challenging Nitish Kumar, especially in wake of Jitin Ram Manjhi switching sides. Manjhi’s vote base is identical to that of Paswan. Nitish Kumar himself has been swinging partners; first embracing the BJP, then switching allegiance to the RJD, and then running back to the BJP.

Needless to say, in the coming days, we will see a lot of political posturing and back-channel negotiations by leaders on both sides, in order to ensure the seat-sharing arithmetic best suited to them. Will any of this actually benefit impoverished famers and lakhs of migrant workers who have returned to Bihar in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and now face an uncertain future, remains to be seen.

Related:

Agricultural Bills passed sans votes! Nation-wide, farmers rise in anger, Oppn United
Bihar police shower bullets and lathis on Adivasis in Kaimur!
This is about two different versions of our democracy: Manoj K Jha

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