Nitish Kumar: Is it time to say goodbye?

Nitish Kumar: Is it time to say goodbye?

Bihar phase 1: NDA, Grand Alliance look evenly placed; JD-U could suffer losses

6000 polling booths marked sensitive; phase to decide fate of 8 ministers, ex-CM

Agency Report | Patna | 27 October, 2020 | 11:00 PM

In the first phase of the Bihar Assembly elections, in which 71 seats will witness polling on Wednesday, the NDA and Grand Alliance look evenly placed. While the BJP is hoping to make gains, its alliance partner JD(U) may suffer some losses, with the LJP directly contesting against it in at least 10 seats. The LJP strongholds include Dinara, Suryagarha and Amarpur. Signs are also piling up that the BJP is distancing itself from Nitish Kumar - ones that stand apart from its supposed backing of Chirag Paswan's rebellion against the Chief Minister's leadership. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his rallies in the state last week, sought votes for the NDA and made only a cursory mention of Nitish Kumar towards the end of his speech. The three-phase polls begin Wednesday. Over the last weeks, the two allies have been holding parallel campaigns with practically no overlap. Barring Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi and Union minister Ravishankar Prasad, no prominent BJP leader has made an appearance at the rallies of Nitish Kumar or his Janata Dal United.

In Bihar, about 2.14 crore voters from 71 assembly constituencies will decide the political future of 1,066 candidates in the first phase of assembly elections on Wednesday.

In the first phase, the main contest is between the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition parties, but in some areas, other political parties and independents are also trying to make the competition triangular.

Voters will exercise their franchise in the first phase for which 31,380 polling booths have been set up. Additional Chief Electoral Officer of the state Election Commission Sanjay Kumar Singh said that jawans of central paramilitary forces have been deployed at all the polling booths.

He said, 27 candidates are in the fray at Gaya, the most from any constituency, while the least number is at Barbigha, with just five candidates.

As per the guidelines of the Election Commission, polling will be held at all polling booths following social distancing norms.

One thousand voters will exercise their franchise at every polling booth.

Voters will have to go to the polls by covering their faces with a mask or a gamcha (towel). Their body temperature will be checked, their hands sanitised and then they will be allowed to vote after wearing gloves.

In the first phase, 1066 candidates are in the fray. There are many high-profile seats and many big leaders are in the fray.

In the first phase, a number of big names are trying their luck, this includes eight ministers — Prem Kumar, Krishnandan Verma, Shailesh Kumar, Vijay Kumar Sinha, Jai Kumar Singh, Ramnarayan Mandal, Santosh Kumar Nirala and Brij Kishore Bind, apart from former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi.

In the first phase of elections, 29 candidates of the BJP, 35 of the JD (U), six from the Hindustani Awam Morcha are in the fray for the NDA. While in the Grand Alliance, 42 candidates of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), 21 of the Congress and eight of the CPI (ML) are in the fray.

All political parties have put their weights behind attracting voters for this phase of polling. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president J.P. Nadda, Chief minister Nitish Kumar and a dozen union ministers appealed to the people to vote in favour of the NDA.

In Bihar, elections are being held in three phases for 243 assembly seats. The first phase will be held on October 28 on 71 seats.

The counting of votes will be held on November 10.

Around 6,000 polling booths are being perceived as sensitive and highly-sensitive in Bihar where elections are scheduled for the first phase of assembly polls on October 28.

Sanjay Kumar Singh, Additional Chief Electoral Officer of Bihar said that of the total 31,380 booths, as manyas 6,000 are sensitive or highly sensitive.

Polling will start from Wednesday morning at 7 am and is scheduled to continue till 6 PM.

“We have deployed teams of para military forces at every booth to conduct peaceful elections. The EVM machines and VVPATs are already reached at every booth in the region,” Singh said.

The first phase of polling for 71 constituencies and includes sensitive and Naxal-hit areas such as Rohtas, Kaimur, Jahanabad, Bhojpur, Gaya, Nawada, Nalanda and Munger.

“In a bid to conduct smooth and peaceful election, we have seized 1277 illegal weapons in these areas. Besides, 65404 arms licences are verified by police of respective districts. There are 23521 licence weapons also deposited with local police,” Singh said.

“We have also taken action against anti-social elements under IPC section 107. Under this process, 25390 persons have given written promises and 331102 persons bonds with promises to avoid any destructive activity. We have also executed warrants against 25966 persons which are pending against them for the last six months,” Singh said.

“Since the model code of conduct was imposed in Bihar, we have seized 1078728 litres of liquor. Besides different agencies have also recovered 19.99 crore cash, 44 four wheelers, 150 gram brown sugar, 2084.91 kg Ganja, 107.495 kg Charas, 3.3 kg opium, 1.5 kg heroine, 40 packets smack, 40 litres spirit so far,” he said.

“We have launched a toll-free number 18003451950. It is connected through a call centre and voters can ask queries from 7 am to 9 pm. Besides we also have district level toll free numbers 1950. The voters should apply area code before this number. We also have state level number 0612-2215978,” added Singh.
In Bihar, campaigning for the first phase of polling in 71 assembly constituencies stopped on Monday, but the candidates are still trying to leave no stone unturned to woo voters for constituencies that will go to polls on Wednesday.

The first phase of elections will decide the fate of a number of political heavyweights. These include, apart from former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, eight ministers: Prem Kumar, Krishnandan Verma, Shailesh Kumar, Vijay Kumar Sinha, Jai Kumar Singh, Ramnarayan Mandal, Santosh Kumar Nirala and Brij Kishore Bind.

Supporters of minister Prem Kumar, who is in the fray for election from the Gaya assembly constituency, were busy speaking with workers at the polling booth level.

Supporters of BJP candidate Deepak Sharma were also seen reaching out to the people in Arwal. Sharma says the BJP-led NDA workers are looking at the preparations up to the polling booth level. He claimed victory from Arwal and said that he has got the support of voters from all castes.

The Congress candidate of Sultanganj and former state president of the Youth Congress, Lalan Kumar, also met people and sought the blessings of the youth and elderly.

The LJP candidate from Amarpur, Mrinal Shekhar, is also trying to connect with voters in the final hours before the election.

It may be noted that out of 243 assembly seats in the state, 71 seats are to be voted on Wednesday.

The fate of 1,066 candidates is to be decided in the first phase. More than 2 crore 14 lakh voters will exercise their franchise in the first phase. 31,371 polling booths have been set up for this phase.

In Bihar, elections are being held in three phases for 243 assembly seats.

The first phase will be held on October 28 for 71 seats. The second and third phases are on November 3 and November 7 respectively. Counting of votes will be held on November 10.
With the first phase of the Bihar Assembly elections slated to be held on October 28, the political fate of many a young contestant will be decided by the voters.

Among such contestants is international shooter Shreyasi Singh who is in the poll fray from Jamui. She may be a sportsperson and a political greenhorn, but comes from a political background since her late father Digvijay Singh was a Union Minister and her mother Putul Singh has been a parliamentarian.

In Kahalgaon, the Congress has fielded senior party leader Sadanand Singh’s son Shubhanand Mukesh, whose political career hinges on a poll win.

In Sultanganj, the party has fielded former Youth Congress state President Lalan Yadav who seems to have influence in the area. Even the caste equations seem to be favouring him.

He said that the youth of his constituency were supporting him.

In the Tarapur Assembly segment, voters will decide the fate of another young politician Divya Prakash, the 28-year-old daughter of RJD leader Jaiprakash Yadav.

She is the youngest contestant among the candidates whose victory or defeat will be decided by the electorate on October 28.

As the campaigning for the first phase elections ended on Monday, different candidates are canvassing at the voters’ doorsteps.

The elections for 243 Assembly seats will be held in three phases – for 71 seats on October 28, for 94 seats on November 3, and remaining 78 on November 7. The results will be announced on November 10.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to address two public meetings in poll-bound Bihar on Wednesday. The first rally will be in Valmiki Nagar where a by-poll is being held for the Lok Sabha seat and the second in Darbhanga.

The Congress said that Rahul Gandhi will address a meeting at Near Middle School, Pakdihwa-Daunaha in West Champaran district and another at Gyaspur, opposite Shankara Modern School in Darbhanga district.

Rahul Gandhi will also be travelling to Gorakhpur.

The first phase of polling in Bihar will be held on Wednesday with 1,066 candidates in the fray.

Among the major names are the BJP’s Sreyashi Singh, a Commonwealth Games gold medal winner who has been fielded from Jamui and 28-year-old Divya Prakash from the RJD who has made heads turn for being the youngest of the lot and has been fielded from Tarapur. HAM’s Jitan Ram Majhi, who was the state’s CM for a brief period, will fight it out from Makhdumpur.

Maoist-infested seats will also go to the polls in this phase among a total of 71 seats. Six members of the Bihar cabinet are contesting in the first phase. (IANS)