NEW DELHI, Oct 28: In the first ever elections amidst the Corona pandemic, an estimated 54 per cent voters turned out to cast their votes in 71 constituencies in the first phase of the three-phase polling for the Bihar state Assembly on Wednesday. The percentage may marginally increase when the final polling figures are officially announced as polling was continuing at various polling booths beyond 6 P.M., the scheduled time for closure. The polling was peaceful.
This is the first time voting went on till 6pm instead of 5pm. The Election Commission of India had extended the voting time by one hour to avoid crowding in any booth. The ECI had also increased the number of polling booths this time limiting voters for each booth at 1,000 instead of 1,500 for the same reason.
“The turnout is projected to be more than the last Lok Sabha and Assembly election. It is encouraging that even during Covid-19 pandemic, people came out to cast votes. In 2015 Assembly election, the voter turnout till 5pm was 54.94%. And in 2019 Lok Sabha election, the voter turnout till 5pm was 53.54%. The polling is still going on. The latest figures will be shared with you later. I would like to thank Bihar voters, political parties, media persons for making the first election amid Coronavirus happen smoothly,” chief election commissioner Sunil Arora said.
The BJP, meanwhile, has accused Rahul Gandhi of violating Model Code of Conduct as the Congress leader on Wednesday morning tweeted urging voters to cast their votes in favour of the Mahagathbandhan. The Election Commission has ordered an FIR against BJP leader and Bihar agriculture minister Prem Kumar for casting his vote wearing a mask with his party’s symbol on it.