Counting of votes for the three-phase Bihar Assembly election is underway with early trends showing a close contest between the NDA and the Grand Alliance. However, the results are expected to be delayed this time with Bihar Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) HR Srinivas saying the counting will continue till late evening.
“There is a significant increase in the number of polling stations. The number of polling stations have gone up by almost 45%. The counting process will be a bit longer than it used to be,” he said.
Officials also told PTI that trends and results might be delayed a bit this time as the number of polling stations were raised from 72,723 earlier to 1,06,515 to ensure adherence to social distancing measures in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. This meant an increase in the number of electronic voting machines as well.
Srinivas also told ANI that around 4.1 crore votes were cast and only about 92 lakh votes have been counted so far. “Earlier there used to 25-26 rounds of counting, this time it went up to around 35 rounds. So the counting well continue till late evening,” he added.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Deputy Election Commissioner (DEC) Chandra Bhushan Kumar said the counting speed is the same, but there are more EVMs to be counted.
He also listed the differences between counting of votes now and the conventional counting process. Kumar said the number of tables at each counting centre had been limited to seven, to ensure social distancing, as opposed to 14 under normal circumstances, according to The Indian Express. This means seven EVMs are being counted in one round in Bihar as opposed to 14 earlier, the report noted.
(With PTI inputs)