NEW DELHI (TIP): The great Bihar Battle is on. The Election Commission on Wednesday, September 9, announced the dates for Bihar assembly polls. The five-phase election will be held in October-November; the first phase will take place on October 12 and the final phase will be held on November 5. Counting of votes will take place on November 8.
Describing the security arrangements made by the commission, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said, “The paramilitary forces will guard all the polling stations.” All political parties in the state have demanded CRPF, CISF and BSF forces for the polls. At least 47 assembly segments are affected by Left-wing extremist areas and securing these segments is priority on the agenda, Zaidi said, flanked by Election Commissioners Achal Kumar Jyoti and Om Prakash Rawat.
Our strategy will be to manage misuse of money by voters, including paid news. Nine central and state agencies have been pressed into action to keep a check on movement of cash and liquor,” Zaidi said adding that a total of 6.68 crore voters are eligible to cast their votes in Bihar.
He also said that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) this time will carry the photos of the candidates also.
Noting that a number of important festivals like Dussehra, Eid, Muharram, Diwali and Chhath will fall in the election period, Zaidi said the Commission will ensure communal harmony and peace.
The term of the 243-member Bihar assembly comes to an end on November 29.
After ruling the state for ten years, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is seeking a third term this time in alliance with Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress after he walked out of NDA in June, 2013 snapping 17-year-old ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The BJP, which had almost swept the state in the Lok Sabha polls in alliance with Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party and Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, is hoping to repeat its performance and slamming Kumar for aligning with Lalu Prasad, a convict in fodder scam case.
Meanwhile, a survey has predicted edge for the BJP led Alliance over Laloo-Nitish alliance. The India Today-Cicero survey has predicted in a pre – poll survey that BJP-led NDA will win 125 out of 243 seats in Bihar getting simple majority while Nitish Kumar-led coalition will manage only 106 seats if elections were held in the first week of September.
The survey shows significant gains for the BJP and its allies, and predicts losses for JD(U)-RJD-Congress combine.
The Bihar assembly election could be “very, very close”, according to the agency which conducted the poll.