The first phase of elections in Bihar for 71 seats out of 243 members has begun today with precautions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

This time, the contest is between BJP-JDU alliance against Lalu Yadav’s RJD which is being led by his son Tejashwi Yadav and at the third front is LJP’s Chirag Paswan who has decided to contest separately distancing from Nitish Kumar’s JDU.

However, Paswan has maintained to be loyal of BJP as he had said Nitish ki khair nahi, BJP se bair nahi.

The first phase of the polls is scheduled on October 28 while the second and third phases will take place on November 3 and November 7 respectively. The results will be announced on November 10.

On Thursday, BJP had released its manifesto for the citizens of states on Thursday.

BJP had promised free coronavirus vaccination, 19 lakh jobs among others for the upcoming elections.

The saffron party has also stressed that current chief minister and ally Janta Dal (JDU) party leader Nitish Kumar will be the Chief Minister for the next five years.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman presented the manifesto and said, “As soon as the COVID-19 vaccine will be available for production at a mass scale, every person in Bihar will get free vaccination. This is the first promise mentioned in our poll manifesto,”

She also said that Bihar’s growth is ‘integral part’ of the country’s overall growth and requested voters to support chief ministerial candidate Nitish Kumar.

The 19 lakh job promise in the manifesto is an attempt by the Bihar government to undercut opposition leader Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Tejashwi Yadav’s promise of ’10 lakh government jobs.’

More than fifty-two thousand electors belonging to Senior Citizen (above 80 years of age) and PwD categories have opted to exercise the facility to vote through postal ballots in the forthcoming phase 1 of General Election to the Legislative Assembly of Bihar 2020.

These electors will be provided postal ballots on the pre-informed date(s) by the Returning Officers with proper security and videography arrangements to ensure secrecy, safety, and transparency in the process.

This is the first time that postal ballot facility is being extended to both the categories in Bihar elections. Booth Level Officers of 71 Assembly Constituencies in Bihar have reached out to more than four lakh such electors. Remaining electors intend to visit the booth on the poll day for voting.

As per the Election Commission guidelines, a maximum of 1,000 voters can be present at any polling booth at a time, and every voter’s body temperature will be checked before the person is allowed to enter the booth.

“At the last hour of poll, such electors shall be facilitated voting, strictly following COVID-19 related preventive measures,” the Election Commission had said.

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora while announcing the election schedule had said, “Over 7 lakh hand sanitiser units, about 46 lakh masks, 6 lakh PPE kits, 6.7 lakh units of faces-shields, 23 lakh (pairs of) hand gloves arranged. For voters specifically, 7.2 crore single-use hand gloves arranged.”