The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday informed that Bihar Assembly Election 2020 first phase witnessed a total voter turnout of 55.69 per cent. Bihar election phase 1 took place on Wednesday on 71 constituencies. Bihar Assembly Election 2020 are taking place in three phases: Phase 1 on October 28 (already concluded), Phase 2 scheduled on November 3 (94 constituencies) and Phase 3 scheduled on November 7 (78 constituencies). The counting of votes will take place on November 10. On Wednesday, the voter turnout was close to 54 per cent, however, the election commission officials said that it wasn't the final figure and may rise further.
"The voter turnout in the first phase of 2015 Bihar assembly elections was 54.94 per cent. 53.54 per cent voter turnout was recorded in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. So, the voter turnout in Phase 1 of assembly elections this year is higher than both assembly and Lok Sabha elections," ECI added.
The polls were held in 71 constituencies spread across 16 districts amid tight security and strict COVID-19 regulations in place. On Wednesday, Election Commission secretary general Umesh Sinha told reporters in Delhi that the "projected" voter turnout is expected to exceed the last assembly and the Lok Sabha poll figures.
This was the first major poll held in the country amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic and the poll time increased by an hour till 6 pm to allow suspected or confirmed coronavirus patients to vote in the last hour.
Polling went beyond 6 PM in some constituencies, while the voting hours were curtailed in Naxal-affected areas and ended at 4 pm after beginning at 7 am.
Out of the 16 districts which went to polls, 12 are hit by Left-wing extremism, a senior poll panel official said.
"And out of the 12, four are considered as extreme Left-Wing affected," the official said in Delhi, expressing satisfaction at the smooth conduct of the exercise.
Of the nearly 2.15 crore electors eligible to exercise the franchise, 1.12 crore were male, 1.01 crore female and 599 were categorised as third gender, according to data provided by the Election Commission.
As many as 1,066 candidates are in the fray in the first phase of the poll.