The high-stakes Assembly elections in Bihar will be fought in five phases between October 12 and November 5 as a major popularity test for NDA spearhead Prime Minister Narendra Modi and incumbent Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is in alliance with RJD and Congress.
Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi announced the dates for the polls for the 243-member Assembly.It will be held on October 12, 16, 28, November 1 and 5.The term of the current Assembly expires on November 29, and the results will be announced on November 8.
The battle for power in Bihar assumes significance in the context of Modi leading the NDA charge after BJP’s debacle in the Delhi assembly polls early this year. Recently Modi announced an Rs 1.65 lakh crore package for Bihar in his bid to end the two-decade reign of Lalu-Nitish combine.
The BJP and the ruling JD(U) ended the alliance after eight years in power and 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).
Noting the number of important festivals like Dussehra, Eid, Muharram, Diwali and Chhath that falls in the election period, Zaidi said the Commission will ensure communal harmony and peace.
Bounded by Election Commissioners Achal Kumar Joti and Om Prakash Rawat, Zaidi told a press conference that more than adequate security arrangements have been made by the election body to ensure peaceful, free and fair polls in state where over 47 constituencies are hit by Left wing extremism. This time, EC has ensured that central armed police force (CAPF) personnel are deployed in all the 62779 polling stations of the state. There are over 6.68 crore voters in the state