Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday morning urged the people of Bihar to set a "new voting record" as the state goes for final phase polling today. Voting is underway in 78 assembly segments of Bihar in the third and final phase of state elections to decide the fate of 1,204 candidates. The polling of votes began at 7 am at all 33,782 polling stations where as many EVM sets and paramilitary forces deployed to maintain order.
Requesting voters to set a new voting record, the prime minister also asked people to ensure they wear masks and practice social distancing.
"I request all voters to participate in this festival of democracy in large numbers and set a new voting record. However, it is necessary to wear masks and maintain social distancing," he wrote on Twitter.
बिहार विधानसभा चुनावों में आज तीसरे और आखिरी चरण का मतदान है। सभी मतदाताओं से मेरी विनती है कि वे अधिक से अधिक संख्या में लोकतंत्र के इस पावन पर्व में भागीदार बनें और वोटिंग का नया रिकॉर्ड बनाएं। और हां, मास्क पहनने और सोशल डिस्टेंसिंग का ध्यान भी अवश्य रखें।— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 7, 2020
According to the statistics provided by the Election Commission, of the total 2.35 voters in the 78 assembly segments, spread across 15 districts of north Bihar, 1.23 are men, 1.12 crore are women while 894 are in the “third gender” category.
Among the candidates in the fray, 37 belong to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), 35 to the BJP, while five are contesting on tickets of junior NDA ally Vikassheel Insaan Party and one from the Hindustani Awam Morcha. The candidates of the JD(U)-BJP include the assembly Speaker and 12 members of the state cabinet.
The main opposition RJD is fighting 46 seats in the final phase, while its ally Congress is in the fray in 25. Ultra-Left outfit CPI(ML), which has joined the RJD-led Grand Alliance along with CPI and CPI(M), is contesting five seats in the final phase.
Chirag Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party is in the fray on 42 seats, including Govindganj, which it holds and where it is pitted against the BJP, which it claims to be supporting while being opposed to the JD(U).
The final phase of elections is also noteworthy because of the role the “Owaisi factor” might play. Headed by fiery Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, the AIMIM had registered a stunning victory in Kishanganj last year, defeating the Congress candidate whose son's election to Lok Sabha had necessitated the by-poll.
(With PTI inputs)