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It is all eyes on #Bihar as the first phase of the three-phase voting process took place today (28th October) in the state. This is the first state election taking place in the midst of the Covid pandemic and the #ElectionCommission has drawn up all the necessary guidelines to make the voting process as safe as possible. The election whose results would be out on 10th November will decide if #NitishKumar will become the Chief Minister for the fourth time or RJD’s young leader #TejashwiYadav (son of Lalu Prasad Yadav) will ascend the seat. Lok Janashakti Party’s #ChiragPaswan (son of Ram Vilas Paswan) who recently rebelled against Nitish Kumar has added an extra factor to the political drama.

Here are 10 important things you need to know about Bihar Elections 2020:

1. There are a total of 243 seats in the Bihar assembly, out of which 38 seats are reserved for Scheduled Castes and 2 for Scheduled Tribes. Before the elections, it was estimated that around 7.29 crore people will vote this time and 78 lakh of them would be first time voters.

2. As the maximum number of voters at a polling booth has been reduced to 1,000 from 1,500 keeping in mind the social-distancing norms, the number of voting stations has gone up to 1,06,526 from 65,367. Paramedics will be present at every booth to thermal check the voters and special provisions have been made for Covid positive patients to cast their vote. 7 lakh sanitizers and 6.7 lakh face shields and 23 lakh pairs of hand gloves have been arranged for the polls.

3. Tejashwi Yadav has gained huge popularity as the #Mahagatabandhan leader centred his campaigns around issues like unemployment and education differing from his father who always made it caste centred. His rallies were packed with supporters and he is expected to give a very tough fight to Nitish Kumar.

4. The drift between the NDA and Nitish Kumar is rising everyday as in his speech, even #PMModi referred to Nitish Kumar only in the end. The Janata Dal United (#JDU) hasn’t really received any support from the #BJP leaders and the posters and billboards of both parties haven’t made mentions of the other.

5. One of the high voltage battles will be witnessed in the #Imamganj seat of Gaya as the former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi of the #HAM(S) takes upon former Assembly speaker, RJD’s Uday Narayan Choudhary.

6. The #pandemic witnessed the return of lakhs of #migrant labourers to Bihar from all over the country and their future prospects has been one of the trending topics all throughout the campaign. Whichever government comes to power, a strong strategy to solve the migrants’ crisis should be computed.

7. A survey in April showed the unemployment rate in Bihar at 46.6%. While most of the oppositions’ campaigns circled around this issue, they also included in their mandate that, if brought to power, they would provide 10 lakh jobs in the state. On the other side, the NDA has promised to create 19 lakh jobs in the state if they come to power.

8. Dalit leaders are highly in demand this time as prominent leaders like Jitan Ram Manjhi and Shyam Razak have changed parties. The Dalit population in the state stands at 16% and is said to be one of the important factors in deciding the results this time.

9. While every seat in every constituency becomes important in an election, there surely are some leaders to look out for this time apart from Kumar and Yadav. Sushil Kumar Modi, Tej Pratap Yadav, Chirag Paswan, Upendra Kushwaha, Mukesh Sahani, Pushpam Priya Chaudhary and Pappu Yadav belong on the list.

10. As #NirmalaSitharaman announced BJP’s manifesto last week, she also promised that if brought to power, they will provide free #CovidVaccine to all the citizens of Bihar. While the opposition has scrutinized this promise, BJP leaders justify their move.

– Jahnavi TR

– Bengaluru

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