Will Bihar see a fourth term for incumbent Nitish Kumar or will the state get a new chief minister in young Tejashwi Yadav? The answer will be known with the results of counting of votes on Tuesday in the recently concluded and bitterly fought Assembly elections.
Counting of votes will begin at 8 am today with all real-time trends and results of elections being made on Election Commission of India's website http://results.eci.gov.in and Voter Helpline App.
The ECI has set up 55 counting centres in all the 38 districts of the state, which had voted in three phases on October 28, November 3 and November 7 to decide the fate of 3,755 candidates.
Bihar is the first state where the full-fledged election was held after the coronavirus outbreak in India. 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.
The Election Commission took precautionary coronavirus measures as it mandated face masks, hand stizers, thermal scanners, gloves, face shields, and PPE kits during the electoral process while ensuring social distancing norms.
The poll body also increased the number of counting centres to 55 in 38 districts across Bihar, in order to comply with social distancing guidelines. The number of counting centres in the state was 38 during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
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.
Bihar Chief Election Commissioner HR Srinivasa said that the Election Commission provided 19 compes of paramilitary forces to guard strongrooms.
The official said that there is 24X7 surveillance by CCTVs inside counting centres and strong rooms have been locked and controlled by the paramilitary force.
"Candidates are allowed to sit outside counting centres to keep a watch and given live feed. Everybody who visits the counting centre then we have kept a logbook. Highest care has been taken so that counting centre is safe," he said.
The exit polls differed in their prediction of tallies of major players in Bihar assembly polls with most predicting an edge for Mahagathbandhan or its victory.
While some predicted that the ruling NDA and Mahagathbandhan were in the contest for the halfway mark in the 243-member assembly, others predicted a clear victory for the opposition alliance. One exit poll also predicted that the NDA will be close to the majority mark and will lead Magathbandhan by nearly 50 seats.
India Today-Axis My India exit poll predicted that the Mahagathbandhan will win in Bihar with the alliance partners securing 139-161 seats. It said NDA is expected to get 61-91 seats and LJP three to five seats.
Times Now-CVoter Exit Poll predicted 120 seats for Mahagathbandhan while 116 seats for the NDA. It projected that LJP will win one seat.
Republic TV-Jan ki Baat predicted that Mahagathbandhan will win 116-138 seats while NDA will win 91-119 seats. It said LJP will win 5-8 seats and others are expected to garner 3-6 seats.
Dainik Bhaskar exit poll predicted that NDA will get a majority or will be within striking distance of it with 120-127 seats while 71-81 seats for Mahagathbandhan. It has predicted that LJP will win 12-23 seats while others will get 19-27 seats.
CNN News-Today's Chanakya poll predicted a clear majority for Mahagathbandhan with 180 seats and 55 seats for NDA while the rest bagging none.
NewsX-DV Research exit poll predicted 110-117 seats for NDA while 108-123 seats for Mahagathbandhan. It has predicted 4-10 seats for LJP while 8-23 seats for others.
ABP News-Nielsen has predicted that the NDA is poised to get 104-128 seats, while the Mahagathbandhan will get 108-131 seats.
This time Bihar witnessed a triangular contest with the ruling JDU-BJP alliance and grand alliance (RJD, Congress and others) and Chirag Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), which is eying the role of a kingmaker in case of a hung Assembly.
On one side is the NDA which includes JD-U (115 seats), BJP (110 seats), Vikassheel Insaan Party (11 seats) and Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindust Awam Morcha (7 seats).
Mahagathbandhan constitutes RJD (144 seats) and the Congress with 70 seats. Other alliance partners include the CPI-ML (19 seats), CPI (6 seats), and the CPIM (4 seats).
Incumbent chief minister Nitish Kumar was the face of the NDA while Mahagathbandhan declared Tejashwi Yadav as its chief minister candidate.
LJP contested over 130 seats on its own and fielded candidates against all JD-U nominees and only a few against BJP.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is eyeing his fourth term with ally BJP by his side. In 2015, however, Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) fought polls with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress under the Mahagathbandhan banner. The BJP-led NDA had fought the elections with LJP and other allies.
RJD with 80 seats had emerged as the single largest party in the elections, followed by JD-U (71) paving way for Nitish Kumar to take oath as Bihar Chief Minister for the third term. BJP was reduced to 53 seats and got the largest vote share (24.42 per cent).
However, in 2017, differences emerged between the RJD and JD-U, resulting in Chief Minister Nitish Kumar returning to the NDA.
Tejaswi Yadav, the former deputy chief minister and Mahagathbandhan chief ministerial candidate, is seeking re-election from the Raghopur seat, RJD's stronghold since 1995. His brother Tej Pratap, a sitting MLA from Mahua assembly in Vaishali district, was in the fray from Hasanpur assembly seat this time.
Hindust Awam Morcha (Secular) chief and former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi contested the poll from the Imamganj seat against RJD's candidate and former assembly speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary.
Bihar Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary fought the elections from the Sarairanjan seat in Samastipur as a Janata Dal(United) nominee. The five-time MLA from Sarairanjan faced Arvind Kumar Sahni of the RJD.
The counting will also decide the political fate of scores of ministers including Nand Kishore Yadav who contested from Patna Sahib, Pramod Kumar from Motihari, Rana Randhir from Madhuban, Suresh Sharma from Muzaffarpur, Shrawan Kumar from Nalanda, Jai Kumar Singh from Dinara and Krishnanandan Prasad Verma from Jehanabad, Bijendra Prasad Yadav from Supaul, Madan Sahni from Bahadurpur, Maheshwar Hazari from Kalyanpur, Narendra Narayan Yadav from Alamnagar, Ramesh Rishideo from Singheshwar, Khurshid alias Firoz Ahmed from Sikta, Bima Bharti from Rupauli and Lakshmeshwar Roy from Laukaha.
Former BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha's son Luv Sinha made an electoral debut and contested from Bankipur constituency on the Congress ticket. He was pitted against sitting MLA BJP's NitinNabin. Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, chief of Jan Adhikar Party-Loktantrik (JAP-L) is contesting from the Madhepura assembly seat.
Congress fielded SuhasiniYadav, the daughter of chief of Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) Sharad Yadav on Bijariganj seat in Madhepura district.
Shreyasi Singh, a national shooter and the daughter of former Union minister Digvijay Singh, was given from the Jamui seat by the BJP.
Plurals Party chief Pushpam Priya Choudhary, who declared herself as a chief ministerial candidate contested from two Assembly seats- Bisfi in Madhub district and Bankipore seat in Patna district.
Mfesto and poll campaign
BJP and JD (U) leaders attacked RJD for its "Jungle-Raaj" (lawlessness) in their past tenure, RJD leaders constantly pitching their pre-poll promise of providing 10 lakh jobs to youths.
Along with 19 lakh jobs for the youth, BJP promised that every person in the State will get vaccinated free of cost after the approval of the coronavirus vaccine from ICMR.
On the other end, the Lok Jan Shakti Party has also promised job opportunities in its mfesto, dubbed a vision document of "Bihar First, Bihari First", but hasn't stated any figures.
Chirag Paswan, chief of the LJP--a former ally of the NDA--has been vocal in his criticism of Kumar, who is the chief ministerial candidate of the NDA. He has, however, pledged support to the Prime Minister, calling himself "Modi's Hanuman".
Tejashwi Yadav constantly attacked and ridiculed the Chief Minister for being "physically and mentally tired".
Counting of votes for 243 Bihar Assembly seats to begin at 8 am today.— ANI (@ANI) November 10, 2020
Bihar voted in three phases on 28th October, 3rd and 7th November. (Representative Image) #BiharElection2020pic.twitter.com/7aHGH7F160
( With inputs from ANI )
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