The election is being held in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic and the Election Commission has drawn up elaborate safety protocols.
Bihar Voted in a three-phase election – the first amid the coronavirus pandemic – which will decide if Nitish Kumar will win a fourth term as Chief Minister. Voting is taking place in 71 of the state’s 243 seats. Nitish Kumar’s challenger is RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, whose promise of 10 lakh jobs has proved to be a huge draw in the backdrop of the lockdown and widespread unemployment. The third factor in this election is Chirag Paswan, the son of the late Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan, whose rebellion against Nitish Kumar is believed by many to be backed by the BJP. The Election Commission has drawn up elaborate safety rules for voting in the shadow of Covid.
As many 71 constituencies in Bihar went to polls on Wednesday with nearly 2.14 crore voters deciding the fate of 1,066 candidates. Of these 71 seats, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United (JD-U) is contesting in 35 constituencies, followed by its ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that has fielded candidates in 29 seats. From the Opposition, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is contesting in 42 seats, while its coalition partner Congress has candidates contesting in 20 seats. Many of the constituencies will be keeping an eye on the trends emerging from a few key states in the state. News18 lists five important seats to look out for. For the last 30 years, nobody has been able to breach this BJP fortress. Bihar’s Agriculture Minister Prem Kumar has won this seat six times in a row. So important is his stature in state politics, that he has been accommodated into the cabinet each time an NDA government was sworn into power. This seat will be a litmus test of BJP’s popularity in the region. For the last 30 years, nobody has been able to breach this BJP fortress. Bihar’s Agriculture Minister Prem Kumar has won this seat six times in a row. So important is his stature in state politics, that he has been accommodated into the cabinet each time an NDA government was sworn into power.
This seat will be a litmus test of BJP’s popularity in the region. Of the 12 times that the Congress has won this seat, the party’s Bihar unit chief Sadanand Singh has been declared winner nine times — between 1967 and 2015. In 2015, he defeated his nearest rival, LJP’s Niraj Kumar, by over 20,000 votes. Singh is so popular here that he managed to hold on to the seat even in the 1977 elections when the Congress was routed from large parts of Bihar and the country. This is the constituency from where local strongman and MLA Anant Singh is contesting on an RJD ticket. From 2005 to 2010, Singh won the seat as a JD(U) candidate. In 2015, after JD(U) denied him a ticket, he won as an Independent. The Mokama Assembly seat, dominated by Bhumihaar and Yadavs, has seen only local strongmen as its MLAs. In 90’s Singh’s brother Dilip became a legislator from here on a Janata Dal ticket. Since then, Singh has won this seat four times. This seat will see a straight battle between the Congress and BJP. Having won the seat twice in a row, Labour Resources Department Minister Vijay Kumar Sinha is BJP’s candidate here. In the last election, it was a close battle between BJP’s Vijay Kumar Sinha and JD(U)’s Ramanand Mandal.