New Delhi | Jagran Politics Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday urged people to go out in large numbers and cat their votes in the first phase of the Bihar Assembly election, and participate in the "festival of democracy" while following the COVID-19 precautionary guidelines. 

"Today is the first phase of voting in the Bihar Assembly elections. I urge all voters to ensure their participation in this festival of democracy while taking precautions against COVID," Modi said in a tweet in Hindi.

"Be mindful of maintaining 'do gaz doori', wear a mask. Remember, first vote, then refreshments," he added.

More than 2 crore will decide the fate of 1,066 candidates across 71 assembly seats in the first phase of elections as Nitish Kumar seeks a fourth consecutive electoral victory.

The assembly elections in Bihar are the first state polls being held since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Election Commission has already issued guidelines for safe conduct of the electoral exercise taking place in the shadow of the pandemic. 

The precautionary steps taken by the poll body include lowering the cap on the maximum number of voters for a pooling booth from 1,600 to 1,100, staggered voting hours and postal ballot facility for voters aged above 80. 

Nitish Kumar, seeking a fourth consecutive electoral victory, is facing challenge from TJD leader Tejashwi Yadav who is the CM face of the 'Mahagathbandhan'. LJP chief Chirag Paswan, the son of late Ram Vilas Paswan, has emerged as the third factor in the election following his rebellion againt Kumar's leadership.  

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta