The counting of votes will begin at 8 am on Tuesday, with the postal ballots — cast by staff on poll duty and service voters — will be opened first, followed by EVM votes
After the conclusion of the three-phase Bihar Assembly elections on Saturday, the counting of votes will begin tomorrow, 10 November (Tuesday).
The term of the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly comes to an end on 29 November. Of the total strength, 38 seats are reserved for SCs and two for STs.
The Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for counting, by setting up 55 counting centres in 38 districts across Bihar, with 414 counting hall set up.
Three counting centres each have been set up in four districts of East Champaran (which has 12 assembly constituencies), Gaya (10 seats), Siwan (eight constituencies) and Begusarai (seven constituencies).
In the first phase, 71 seats spread across 16 districts went to poll on 28 October (1,066 candidates), while in the second, voters in 94 seats of 17 districts exercised their franchise on 3 November ( 1,463 candidates). In the third phase, 78 seats spread in 15 districts went to polls on 7 November (1,204 candidates).
As per the guidelines set up the Election Commission due to the coronavirus pandemic, no more than 7 counting tables will be allowed in the counting halls, to maintain social distancing.
Face masks will be mandatory for entering into the counting centres besides sanitisers will be kept in adequate quantity there.
In the state capital Patna, votes for all the 14 assembly constituencies will be counted at just one centre set up at AN College. The poll panel said it is readying 30 counting halls at the college.
Bihar chief electoral officer HR Srinivasa said the Election Commission has established a three-tier security system for strong rooms (housing the Electronic Voting Machines) and the counting centres.
The inner core is being guarded by the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), then there is the Bihar Military Police (BMP) and then the district police, he told reporters.
“We have deployed 19 companies of CAPF just for the security of the strong rooms and counting centres.
Besides, we have 59 CAPF companies to ensure law and order during and in the aftermath of the counting process,” he said. One CAPF company comprises around 100 personnel.
The CEO said the Election Commission will strictly deal with any “anti-social” elements who indulge in “hooliganism” during or in the aftermath of the counting.
Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters) Jitendra Kumar said CCTV cameras have been installed in the control rooms.
“Their display is in the District Election Officers offices. And they are also being monitored regularly by the Chief Electoral Officer,” he said.
In Bhagalpur district, which has two counting centres Government Polytechnic College, Barari and Women’s ITI — preparations are being made for the November 10 results for seven assembly seats.
Display screens are being set up and two tents being erected at each counting centre for journalists and security personnel.
Arrangements are being made to put seven tables in each of the 14 halls.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) have been imposed in and around the counting centres to prevent the gathering of people.
In Bhojpur district, the votes for all the seven assembly constituencies will be counted at one centre set up at Bazar Samiti Godown, Arrah.
In the polls this year, the Rashtriya Janata Dal is contesting from 144 seats, the Congress 70, and the Left parties will together contest from 29 seats.
Majority exit polls released after the third and final round of polls suggest that Tejashwi Yadav-led Mahagathbandhan might have an edge over the NDA.
But, who will actually get the magic figure of 122 in the house of 243 will be known only after the votes are counted on Tuesday.
Despite COVID-19 Bihar voter turnout higher than 2015
Bihar recorded 57.05 percent turnout in the Assembly elections this year, marginally higher than that of 2015 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, as per official data.
The voter turnout in the elections held in 2015 was 56.66 percent, the Election Commission data showed. Female voter turnout this year was 59.69 percent, higher than that of the male voters 54.68 per cent.
This year’s turnout was pushed up by relatively aggressive polling in the third phase in which 78 seats in the 15 districts of Kosi-Seemanchal, Mithilanchal and Tirhut voted.
In last year’s Lok Sabha elections, 57.33 percent turnout was recorded.
No re-polling was ordered in any constituency where elections were held in the third phase, sources said.
Poll observers and returning officers who were on duty in the third phase have completed the scrutiny and no repoll has been recommended, they said.
This was the first major election held in the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to facilitate COVID-19 patients or those suspected of having the infection, the commission had extended the polling duration by an hour.
Around 5.30 lakh election officials were given special training in the wake of the pandemic.
With inputs from PTI
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