After months of campaigning, and multi-phased polling, Bihar will soon get a new Chief Minister. At 8 am on Tuesday, the counting of votes began at 55 counting centres across 38 districts of the state amid tight security and precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19 pandemic during the process.
The voting across 243-assembly constituencies in Bihar was held in three phases on October 28, November 3, and November 7 to decide the fate of 3,755 candidates. Over 7,29,27,396 electors were eligible to vote in Bihar polls and the voter turnout was at 57.05 per cent, which was 0.39 per cent higher compared to 56.66 per cent in 2015 elections.
Reports have indicated that the counting might take a few additional hours since there were an increased number of polling stations this year. The number went up by 46.% in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as such, might delay trends and results somewhat. At the same time, the poll body has also increased the number of counting centres to 55 in 38 districts across Bihar, in order to comply with social distancing guidelines. 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.
While there are several thousand candidates in the fray, the Bihar Assembly Election had essentially been a triangular contest, with the JDU-BJP alliance and the Mahagathbandhan that consists of the RJD, Congress and others pitted against each other. The Lok Janshakti Party appears to have been eyeing the role of kingmaker, with Chirag Paswan repeatedly taking on JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar even as he expressed his loyalty to Prime Minister Modi and the BJP. The LJP contested over 130 seats on its own and fielded candidates against all JD-U nominees and only a few against BJP.
While the exit polls differed in their projected tallies for the main parties in the fray, most opined that the Mahagathbandhan was likely to have an edge that could very well allow it to form the government.