Bihar phase-II election, byelections in 10 states today

Voting started in the second phase of Bihar Assembly elections on Tuesday. After elections were completed in 71 seats for the first phase on October 28, there will be elections in 94 of the 243 seats of the Bihar assembly today. The remaining seats will go to the polls in the third phase on November 7, and results will be out on November 10. Byelections are also being held today in 10 states in 54 Assembly constituencies.

This is the first election being held amid the COVID-19 pandemic and hence elaborate arrangements for safety have been made as per the directions of the Election Commission. The EC has issued a number of guidelines, including staggered polling hours, postal ballot for those above 80 or those infected, sanitised electronic voting machines (EVMs), soaps and water for voters, lowering the number of voters per booth etc.

Among the 94 seats where voting takes place today, there are several BJP strongholds in north Bihar. It also includes the seat from where Tejashwi Yadav – the chief ministerial candidate of Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Congress and Left parties – is contesting. Son of Lalu Yadav, Tejashwi’s rallies have drawn huge crowds this time. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has himself attacked Tejawshwi directly, calling him the “crown prince of Jungle Raj” (Jungle Raj ka yuvraj) in Bihar.

Tejawshwi Yadav and the allies have launched a massive attack against Nitish Kumar and his ally, the BJP, and amid the COVID-19 pandemic and job losses, promised 10 lakh jobs for people in the state. This election is crucial for Nitish Kumar because it will decide whether he can win for the fourth term as chief minister of Bihar.

The other factor in the Bihar election this time is Chirag Paswan, son of the late Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan. His rebellion against Nitish Kumar is being said to be backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party, though Kumar’s Janata Dal United is part of the ruling ally in Bihar (with the BJP) and a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre. There has however, been a distance between the allies. While Paswan has been criticising Kumar and rebelled against his leadership and declared that his party will contest alone, he has declared loyalty to the BJP. But the BJP despite declaring Nitish Kumar as the CM candidate, has not taken any action against Paswan, leading to speculations that Chirag Paswan has the backing of the party.

Comments are closed.