Bihar Election 2020 HIGHLIGHTS: Casteist and nepotistic forces have to be defeated, says Yogi at rally
In the 2015 assembly polls, the turnout in the phase one was 54.94 per cent. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the corresponding turnout was 53.54 per cent, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said at the poll panel briefing in New Delhi.
Gaya: People stand in a queue to cast their votes during the first phase of Bihar assembly polls, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, in Gaya, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (PTI Photo)
Bihar Election 2020 LIVE Updates: Addressing a rally in Siwan in poll bound Bihar, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath called on the voters to defeat the “casteist and nepotistic forces”. He also mentioned the beginning of construction of a grand Ram temple at Ayodhya, enactment of a law against instant triple talaq and abrogation of provision of Article 370.
A voter turnout of 55.69% was recorded in the first phase of Bihar assembly polls on Wednesday, the Election Commission said in its provisional data. Polling was held 71 assembly constituencies amid tight security and COVID-19 guidelines in place. In the 2015 assembly polls, the turnout in the phase one was 54.94 per cent. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the corresponding turnout was 53.54 per cent, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said at the poll panel briefing in New Delhi. A total of 71 assembly constituencies of Bihar went for polls on Wednesday. The polling began at 7 am and ended at 6 pm.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday accused PM Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of not doing enough for the development of the state. “Bihar doesn’t have adequate jobs, facilities, and its not your fault. This is the fault of your chief minister and prime minister,” said Rahul addressing a rally in Pashchim Champaran. On the other hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tore into the opposition RJD in Bihar, calling its chief ministerial candidate Tejashwi Yadav the “yuvraaj” (crown prince) of “jungle raj” and attacking him over the promise of 10 lakh government jobs.
Earlier in separate rallies in Darbangha, Muzzafarpur, PM Modi invoked Ayodhya’s Ram Temple and targeted Mahagatbandhan’s ‘jungle raaj’.
The Bihar Assembly polls are scheduled to be held in three phases, starting October 28. Results will be declared on November 10.
Bihar Election 2020 LIVE Updates: The campaign so far has been high-voltage, with the NDA seeking to balance two heavyweights – Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar – while the Opposition’s charge has been led by the young Tejashwi Yadav. (Click here to follow our full Bihar polls coverage)
Kumar has repeatedly asked voters to recall the “days of jungle raj” under Lalu Prasad, saying that only in the last 15 years under him has the condition of Bihar’s roads, health infrastructure and education improved. In an interview with the Indian Express, JD(U) national spokesperson KC Tyagi also said that Kumar has no rival who can match his credentials and that people are clear in their minds of Nitish alone being the CM face.
On the other hand, Tejashwi Yadav, the chief ministerial candidate of the Mahagatbandhan, attempted to strike a chord with voters, especially the youth, with a promise of 10 lakh government jobs promise in the RJD manifesto. Massive turnouts and enthusiastic response from the crowds at his rallies have been a surprise for political observers, with many reading it more as anti-incumbency against Nitish than the appeal of Tejashwi and RJD.
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav addresses an election rally, at Bihpur in Bhagalpur district. (Twitter/RJDforIndia)
The Grand Alliance (Mahagathbandhan) has largely kept its campaign restricted to Bihar’s local concerns, not responding to the BJP’s efforts to turn the discourse towards national issues.
Among the major political parties, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JD(U) is contesting in 35 of the 71 seats, followed by its ally BJP (29), while the opposition RJD has fielded its candidates in 42 and its coalition partner Congress is in the fray in 20 assembly segments.
Lok Janshakti Party, headed by Chirag Paswan, is in the fray in 41 seats, which include all the 35 contested by the JD(U), in keeping with the call given by the young party president, who recently pulled out of the NDA in the state, to "dislodge" the chief minister from power.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar addresses a gathering during an election meeting, in Muzaffarpur district (PTI)
Other prominent leaders who have campaigned in the state so far include Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani, Congress leaders Raj Babbar and Shatrughan Sinha, BSP supremo Mayawati and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi. CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar also joined the campaign, mainly for candidates of the Left parties. Kumar, in an interview, told Indian Express that Bihar elections are not going to be one-sided and there is much anger, especially against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
During the campaign, many prominent leaders fell prey to the Covid-19 infection while campaigning. These included Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and former Union ministers Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Syed Shahnawaz Hussain.