Ahead of the counting day for the Bihar Assembly elections on Tuesday, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has increased the number of counting centres to 55 in order to comply with COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.
"Earlier we used to have 38 counting centres for 38 districts but this time we have 55 counting centres and the simple reason is that we want to maintain social distance," Bihar Chief Election Commissioner HR Srinivasa told ANI.
Meanwhile, the poll results could be delayed by 4-5 hours because of the increase in the number of polling booths due to the pandemic.
As a precautionary measure, the Election Commission had decreased the number of votes per polling booth and this led to an increase in the number of booths. This also resulted in an increase in the number of EVMs.
“Earlier, we used to declare the poll result in 12 hours. This year, it might take an additional four to five hours due to increase in counting rounds, before the actual result is declared,” an EC source told Deccan Herald.
Citing an example, the official added, "The Bakhtiyarpur constituency on the outskirts of Patna had 410 polling booths. The number of counting rounds will be around 30. Now each round of counting takes 20 minutes. This essentially means it will take 600 minutes (10 hours) to count the votes of Bakhtiyarpur."
Similarly, the Kumhrar constituency had 662 polling booths. This would approximately take 16 hours for counting. “If the counting starts at 8 am, then expect Kumhrar result only by midnight," the official said.
Besides, according to the exit polls, Bihar is on the cusp of a major generational shift in politics, with almost every pollster predicting a landslide victory for the Mahagathbandhan led by the young RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav.
The India Today-Axis My India exit poll even showed that Tejashwi Yadav is the numero uno in the political scene in Bihar. According to the survey data, Tejashwi is the leading CM candidate in Bihar, with 44% of the electorate favouring him.