After days of speculation, the Election Commission has finally announced the dates for the much-awaited Assembly elections for the 243 seats in Bihar. Addressing a press conference in the national capital, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi announced that the polling would be conducted in five phases in the state, polling for which would begin on October 12. The second, third, fourth and fifth phases of polling will be held on October 16, October 28, November 1 and November 5. The counting of votes will take place on November 8.
As many as 49 seats would go to polls in the first phase while 32 constituencies would vote in the second phase of the Assembly elections. The third, fourth and fifth phase of the elections will be fought in 50, 55 and 57 seats respectively.
According to the Election Commission, the process of election will be completed by November 12. The CEC further said that the model code of conduct is in place with immediate effect. The voting will be held in as many as 62,779 polling booths.
The Bihar Assembly elections are being seen as a battle primarily between Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While Nitish’s Janata Dal-United (JDU) is contesting the election in alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has sided with smaller parties like the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RSLP) and the Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM).
In the run to the much anticipated polls, several top leaders, including CM Nitish Kumar, PM Narendra Modi, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, HAM’s Jitan Ram Manjhi, have indulged in a bitter war of words. While PM Modi questioned the “DNA” of the Bihar Chief Minister, the JDU leader hit back calling it an attack on the pride of Bihar.