Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora on Wednesday said the Election Commission was "discouraged" from holding the Bihar Assembly polls amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the poll panel was of the view that carrying out the electoral exercise was a "leap of faith and not a leap in the dark".
The assembly election in Bihar will be held in three phases on October 28, November 3 and 7 and the results will be announced on November 10. This is the first major election to be held in the middle of the worldwide coronavirus crisis and the number of phases have been reduced from five to minimize infection.
The country's biggest election in the coronavirus crisis will be held with many changes, including an extra voting hour, separate voting for Covid patients, suspects and those in quarantine, and no physical contact during the campaign. Voting will take place from 7 am to 6 pm instead of wrapping up at 5 pm and voters have to use masks and gloves. COVID-19 patients can vote in the last hour of the day.
Bihar has to elect a new 243-member assembly by November 29. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who leads a coalition with the BJP, will fight for a fourth term in these polls, with the opposition RJD of jailed former Chief Minister Lalu Yadav and the Congress challenging him.