Lok Sabha election 2019: On last day of 7-phase voting, Nitish Kumar bats for crisper poll schedules
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday questioned the protracted schedule of the Lok Sabha election this year as eight states, including his, began polling in the seventh and last phase.
“Elections should not be held over such a long duration. There was a long gap between each phase of voting. I will write to leaders of all parties to build a consensus on this,” Nitish Kumar said.
Nitish Kumar made the comments after casting his vote at polling booth number 326 at a school in Raj Bhawan in the state capital Patna.
Bihar has 40 Lok Sabha seats and only four parliamentary constituencies each went to polls in the first couple of phases followed by five each in the next three phases. Votes were cast in the remaining 17 in the last two phases.
Opposition parties in Bihar had also questioned the Election Commission’s decision to spread the Lok Sabha polls in the state over seven phases and alleged that voting was staggered to enable extensive electioneering by the ruling National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA’s) main crowd-puller - Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Other than Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal were the other two states where polling for the Lok Sabha election was held in all the seven phases. In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, polling was held in six phases in Bihar and in five phases in West Bengal out of a total of nine phases.
Patna Sahib, Pataliputra, Arrah, Buxar, Nalanda, Sasaram, Karakat and Jahanabad parliamentary constituencies are voting in the last phase. And, of these eight Lok Sabha, all eyes will be on four of them where Union ministers will face a tough battle to retain their seats.
Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, minister of state for rural development Ram Kripal Yadav, minister of state for health and family welfare Ashwani Choubey and minister of State (independent charge) for power Raj Kumar Singh will contest from Patna Sahib, Pataliputra, Buxar and Arrah.
These seats are crucial for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), as it had won all of them in the last general election in 2014 — the alliance had won 26 out of 40 seats.
The votes will be counted on May 23.
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