Bihar election results unlikely till late night due to slow counting

Counting process in the Bihar assembly polls is turning out to be a slow process — by 4pm only around 42% of votes had been counted. With Covid restrictions in place and the number of voters limited to 1,000 per booth, 63% more EVMs were used this time.

According to the ECI, the number of polling stations were raised from 72,723 earlier to 1,06,515.

Around 2.7 crore out of the 4.11 crore votes polled in Bihar were counted till 5.30 pm. Even as trends at 7.45 pm show a clear lead for the NDA, with the BJP increasing its gap with the rest, the Opposition is holding onto hope given the peculiarity of counting in this election.

Given the special coronavirus circumstances, the election commission had capped the maximum number of voters per booth from a maximum of 1,500 to 1,000. This means an increase in the number of polling booths, from where votes are to be counted on Tuesday.

In 2015, counting took place at 38 locations. This time, it’s happening at 55 locations. The officials also said the number of counting rounds range from 19 to 51 — approximately 35 rounds on an average.

Bihar Election Results: Full coverage

Chief electoral officer H R Srinivasa said around 4.10 crore votes were cast this time. The total number of voters in Bihar stood at 71,822,450. Earlier there used to be 25-26 rounds of counting, this time it went up to around 35 rounds. So the counting will continue till late night. The EC officials said tables in a particular hall, where votes are being counted have been reduced to seven from the 14 earlier to maintain social distancing in view of the Covid-19 threat.

RJD leader Manoj Jha said that in multiple seats, counting could go up to 30 to 35 rounds, which leaves them scope for a comeback, particularly with wafer-thin leads on 70 seats.

Deputy election commissioner Ashish Kundra added that nearly 160,000 ballots were dispatched for service voters, of which (as of the most recent data) over 50,000 have been received by the returning officers (RO).

Deputy election commissioner Sudeep Jain further asserted that the EVMs were absolutely robust, shooting down any questions about a possibility of tampering with the counting.

Also Read: Amit Shah dials Nitish Kumar as NDA maintains marginal lead in Bihar

Bihar is witnessing a politically charged contest with numbers seeming to be a far cry from the exit poll predictions. Exit polls had predicted an edge for the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan.

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