India’s third-most populous state has been all over the news for the last few weeks. Considered by analysts to be one of the most important political stand-offs in the country, the 2015 Bihar election result will be responsible for shaping the future of Indian politics.
The election will be held in five phases between the 12th of October and 5th of November, with the counting scheduled for 8th of November. But before that happens, here are a few things you should know about the Bihar Legislative Assembly 2015 –
- Close to 6000 CAPF personnel have been deployed in Bihar to ensure a free and fair election. This is 1500 more than the 2010 Bihar elections, where 10 security personnel were killed in election-related violence.
- With Nitish Kumar looking to hold on to his role as Chief Minister, the key players in this election will be the BJP-led NDA alliance and the newly formed Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) between the JD(U) and its allies.
- The election commission has banned print and electronic media from holding exit polls throughout this election. They also prohibited electronic media from holding opinion polls and broadcasting campaign advertisements in the last 48 hours before the elections begin.
- There are a total of 243 constituencies in the Bihar legislative assembly. The first phase will cover 49 constituencies, followed by 32 in the second phase, 50 in the third phase, 55 in the fourth phase and 57 in the fifth phase.
- A total of 6,68,26,658 names have made it to the final voting list, out of which 3,11,77,619 are women, 3,56,46,870 are men, and the rest belong to the third gender. The first phase saw a voter turnout of 57%, the second phase, 55%, and the third phase saw a turnout of 53%.
- With these elections, Bihar has become the first state to have photos of their candidates on the electronic voting machines to prevent people from miscasting their vote.
- This is the first election where NRIs will be able to vote without having to set foot in Bihar. The election will also make use of GPS technology to help people locate their polling booths through an app developed for smartphones.
- For the first time ever, security forces will be making use of unmanned aerial vehicles called ‘Netra’ to keep an eye on events as they unfold on the ground.
- From the first phase alone, 130 out of the 583 candidates have been involved in serious criminal activities. 16 out of the 130 have been charged with murder while another 37 are under judicial scrutiny for attempt to murder.
The state of Bihar has always been a victim to caste-based politics and this time, it’s no different. Major parties are again being accused of indulging in communal politics, which has been the go-to method for gathering votes in this politically turbulent state. But this year’s voters seem to be concerned with issues besides their caste.
According to a survey by Hansa Research, educational reforms are likely to play a major role in deciding who gets the thumbs-up from the public. This is followed closely by issues like power and water supply, inflation, and farmer suicides. A lot has been promised by the candidates, but only time will tell what the future holds for Bihar.
Head to the Dainik Bhaskar website for regular updates on the Bihar election 2015.