NDA surges ahead as counting of votes progresses in Bihar Assembly elections
New Delhi, November 10, 2020
Defying the exit polls which predicted a huge loss for it, the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) surged ahead of the opposition Mahagathbandhan (MGB) as the counting of votes in the crucial elections to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly progressed today.
Early trends from the counting centres, when about 10 per cent of the votes had been counted, showed that the NDA, consisting of mainly the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was ahead in about 130 seats, well above the half-way mark.
The Mahagathbandhan, comprising the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Congress and the Left, was leading in about 100 seats, contrary to the numbers in the exit polls, which had forecast a decisive victory for the opposition alliance.
However, it must be pointed out that a vast majority of the votes are still to be counted and, given the COVID-19 protocols, which meant the number of polling booths and EVMs used were much higher this time, and also that social distancing and other norms are in place at the counting centres, the entire process could take a little longer than usual.
Also, it is understood that there are a significant number of constituencies where the margins separating the main rivals are very narrow -- less than a thousand votes in about 60 places and less than five hundred in half of them.
While the very early trends put the MGB ahead, the BJP surged into the lead as the counting of votes progressed, making it a much closer contest than what the exit polls had predicted.
By noon, the mood at the BJP and JD-U offices in Patna and other parts of Bihar as well as in the national capital had turned upbeat in sharp contrast to the despondent air that had prevailed there early in the morning.
Counting of votes began this morning in the Bihar Assembly elections as well as in bye-elections for 58 assembly seats in 11 other States.
Counting of votes has also begun in the bye-election to the Valmiki Nagar seat in the Lok Sabha from Bihar.
The counting exercise began at 8 am, with postal ballots taken up first. Most of the results are expected to be out by this evening.
In Bihar, as many as 414 counting halls have been set up in 55 counting centres in 38 districts of the state. The numbers are slightly higher this time in view of the social distancing norms and other protocols in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made across Bihar to ensure peaceful counting.
Polling for the Bihar elections was held in three phases on October 28, November 3 and November 7.