Patna: Polling started this morning amid tight security in 71 Assembly constituencies in Bihar, in the first phase of State Assembly elections.
The three-phase election in Bihar would decide if Nitish Kumar gets a fourth term as the Chief Minister. His challenger is RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, whose promise of 10 lakh jobs has proved a huge draw in the backdrop of the lockdown and widespread unemployment.
Election Commission officials said around 1,200 companies of troops were deployed in the Maoist-affected districts of Aurangabad, Gaya, Nawada, Jamui and Lakhisarai.
The Election Commission has issued detailed guidelines that include lowering the cap on voters for a polling booth from 1,600 to 1,000, staggering of polling hours and postal ballot facility for those aged above 80 or those infected.
Electronic Voting Machines will be sanitised. Thermal scanners, hand sanitiser, soap and water will be made available for voters.
Officials also requisitioned three helicopters and built two helipads to ensure quick response in case of any trouble. Maoist posters have surfaced in several districts threatening to disrupt the electoral process.