Bihar Election 2020: 71 seats in Bihar go to polls today
Bihar Election 2020: Election commission officials said around 1,200 companies of troops were deployed in the Maoist-affected districts of Aurangabad, Gaya, Nawada, Jamui and Lakhisarai.Updated: Oct 28, 2020, 04:07 IST
Authorities bolstered security in 71 assembly constituencies across 16 districts that go to the polls in the first phase of Bihar’s assembly elections on Wednesday, deploying 108,000 troops to ward off trouble in areas afflicted by left-wing extremism.
Election commission officials said around 1,200 companies of troops were deployed in the Maoist-affected districts of Aurangabad, Gaya, Nawada, Jamui and Lakhisarai. Authorities also requisitioned three helicopters and built two helipads to ensure quick response in case of any trouble. Maoist posters have surfaced in several districts threatening to disrupt the electoral process.
“Our main focus is to ensure smooth conduct of polls and safety of voters, as well as polling staff,” said a senior police official.
A Central RPF official said routine de-mining exercises by joint teams of district police and CAPF are being carried out in all the affected districts.
On Tuesday, forces recovered three improvised explosive devices (IED) planted on Manjri-Parsa Chuan road in Gaya district.
“The recovered IEDs were defused by the CoBRA jawans and the search operation is on against the suspect Maoist. A case has been also lodged in this connection,” said Gaya senior superintendent of police Rajiv Mishra.
Polling will begin at 7 am and continue until 4 pm in some constituencies and till 6pm in others, marking the first mass election in India since the pandemic struck the country earlier this year. The election commission has notified strict guidelines for distancing, mask wearing and temperature checks, and procured thousands of personal protective equipment and Covid gear. Roughly 24.5 million voters will decide the fate of 1,066 candidates – including eight sitting ministers.
With campaigning for the first phase complete, politicians focused on the 94 seats going to the polls in the second phase on November 3 with chief minister Nitish Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav locked in a verbal war.
Without naming his rival Lalu Prasad, Kumar told a rally in Vaishali that no development could be expected from people producing “8-9 kids” for a son.
“Does anybody care? They produce 8-9 kids. They have no faith on daughters. They had 7-8 daughters before a son. What kind of Bihar they want to make?” Kumar said on Monday.
Yadav said on Tuesday that by making such comments Kumar was targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi “who has 5-6 brothers and sisters.” “He is tired – both physically and mentally. And hence he is making such remarks,” Yadav said.
A row also broke out over a comment by Yadav at a rally on Monday with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) saying the RJD leader was casteist.
At a meeting in Rohtas on Monday, Yadav had said, “ When Lalu Yadav was in power, the poor used to walk before ‘babu saheb’ with their head held high. However, we will take everybody along.” Babu is often a term used for some upper-caste communities.
The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal(United) accused him of playing the “caste card” and hurting sentiment. “In the process of inheriting the political legacy of his father, Tejashwi has started speaking like Lalu Prasad,” said Union minister Giriraj Singh.
Yadav defended himself and said he used the term to highlight “corruption”.
Nitish Kumar campaigned in his home turf of Nalanda, addressing seven rallies and promising solar-powered street lights and irrigation facilities if elected to power again.
“Amid the pandemic, it is not possible to reach out to many people due to shortage of time. However, I have decided that after the elections, I will reach out to the whole of Bihar.
BJP chief JP Nadda, who addressed rallies at Madhubani and Dhaka, said some people are conspiring to divide votes by praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and criticising Nitish Kumar.
In Dhaka, Nadda criticised Yadav’s promise of one million government jobs. “He must retrospect what had transpired when Lalu Rabri were at the helm of affairs. Over 10 lakh people migrated from the state due to the lawlessness and anarchy in the state. Do you want lawlessness to prevail again? Do you want jungle raj to return?” asked the BJP president.
Union minister Smriti Irani attacked the Opposition at rallies in Kalyanpur (East Champaran) and Jagdishpur (West Champaran).
Yadav crisscrossed East and West Champaran and called upon the masses to overthrow the incumbent government.
Addressing an election rally at Lalsaraiya, the leader of Opposition alleged 60 scams during the 15 years of rule by Nitish Kumar. “As a result, state exchequer has suffered a loss of over Rs. 30, 000 crore.You have to grease the palm of the babus to get the things moving in any office,” said Yadav.