onsdag 28. oktober 2020

Bihar elections: First major polls since pandemic a test of Modi's popularity

India's first major elections since the beginning of the pandemic promise to be closely fought - and another test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity. More than 70 million voters are eligible to cast their ballots for 243 assembly seats in the eastern state of Bihar. Polling began on Wednesday in the first of three phases and votes will be counted on 10 November.

During a year when more than 60 countries postponed voting, authorities in India went ahead with polls in Bihar, which has a population comparable to Japan. Traditional forms of campaigning were suspended and virtual rallies were held initially. Polling stations and voting time have been increased to avoid congestion. But all this may well be too late: people and leaders alike have thrown caution to the wind in recent weeks and turned up enthusiastically - and unmasked - at huge public meetings.