5-phase Bihar polls from Oct 12, code of conduct imposed

Security measures to include deployment of central para-military forces and candidates photos on EVMs

GN Bureau | September 9, 2015


#bihar   #elections   #nitish kumar   #bjp   #samajwadi party   #sp   #jdu  


Bihar Assembly elections will be held in five phases from October 12. Chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi announced the election schedule in New Delhi on Wednesday. Other voting dates are October 16, October 20, November 1 and November 5. Counting of votes will be held on November 8.

The model code of conduct will come into effect from today, said the EC. The term of the 243-member Bihar Assembly comes to an end on November 29.

Over 6 crore people are expected to exercise their franchise.

Read more: Mulayam deals a hard blow to Nitish & Lalu, breaks Bihar alliance

The BJP, which had almost swept the state in the Lok Sabha polls in alliance with Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP and Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP, is hoping to repeat its performance. Chief minister Nitish Kumar is seeking a third term this time in alliance with RJD and Congress after he walked out of NDA in June, 2013 snapping 17-year-old ties with BJP.

Zaidi that special security measures will be undertaken in sensitive areas.  All the booths will be manned by the central para-military forces, said the Election Commission. It also stated that the EVMs will have the candidates' photo.

The election commission also announced single window system for speedy approval of permission for political parties for electioneering.

Last week, the Samajwadi Party had pulled out of the 'grand alliance' in Bihar. The SP had announced that it would contest the assembly elections on its own and thus split votes. Though the walkout due to ‘humiliation’ may not cause much harm on the ground, it will be blot on Nitish’s ability to hold an alliance. First he broke with the BJP, and now the SP has broken with him.

The SP does not have a presence in Bihar in a substantial manner but caste equations in this elections can swing many ways.  The party was not given any seat in the first seat-sharing exercise of Nitish-Lalu Yadav combine. It was given five seats on second thoughts which led to the state unit’s open rebellion.

SP was also upset with host of issues - that there was no poster of Mulayam Singh Yadav on the Grand Alliance posters, he was not consulted before seat-sharing, he was not kept in the loop about the first Grand Alliance rally and he was not asked if his party was comfortable sharing dais with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

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