The counting of votes for the recently concluded Bihar elections will be held on Tuesday, November 10 and will decide the fate of over 3,700 candidates who contested the polls. The three-phased elections concluded on November 7. A total of 243 assembly seats in the state are up for grabs and stakes are quite high for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is up against multiple rivals, including former ally Chirag Paswan.
The counting of votes will begin at 8am; the postal ballots -- cast by staff on poll duty and service voters -- will be opened first followed by EVM votes. The result is expected to be clear later in the day unless it's a tight race.
The Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for counting of as the state awaits results of a closely-fought election.
The poll panel said it has set up a total of 55 counting centres, housing 414 halls, spread across all the 38 districts of the state that voted in three phases on October 28, November 3 and November 7. The number of counting centres in the state was 38 during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, reported news agency ANI.
A maximum of three counting centres each have been set up in four districts of East Champaran, Gaya, Siwan and Begusarai. East Champaran has 12 assembly constituencies, Gaya 10, Siwan eight and Begusarai has seven assembly constituencies.
The other districts either have one or two counting centres each.
In state capital Patna, votes for all the 14 assembly constituencies will be counted at one centre set up at AN College. The poll panel said it is readying 30 counting halls at the college.
Steps have been taken to ensure that COVID-19 guidelines are strictly followed during the counting.
Face masks will be mandatory for entering into the counting centres besides sanitisers will be kept in adequate quantity.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) have been imposed in and around the counting centres to prevent gathering of people.
According to Chief Electoral Officer H R Srinavasa, central armed police forces have been deployed at the strong rooms, where the EVMs have been stored since the completion of voting, and the halls where these will be unsealed Tuesday morning after counting of postal ballots gets over.
19 companies of the central armed police forces will be deployed at strong rooms and the halls where counting will take place, another 59 have been entrusted with maintaining law and order. Each company comprises roughly 100 personnel.
Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters) Jitendra Kumar said Bihar Military Police and local police will also chip in while senior officials will keep a watch through display screens connected to CCTV cameras installed at the counting centres.
The most keenly watched will be Raghopur in Vaishali district from where Tejashwi Yadav is seeking re-election.
NDTV's poll of polls says the opposition coalition, led by RJD's Tejashwi Yadav, will win 124 of Bihar's 243 seats and the NDA, 103. Chirag Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) is given six seats. Disclaimer: Exit polls can often get it wrong.
(with inputs from ANI, PTI)