The Election Commission of India on Tuesday said that the ongoing counting for the Bihar Assembly elections will continue till late in the night as more number of electronic voting machines (EVMs), and polling centres were used during the polls under the prevailing Covid-19 situation.
“We hope to finish counting as per the procedure late tonight...This year, there has been 63% increase in the number of polling booths in view of the Covid-19 requirements,” Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bhushan Kumar said, while addressing a press conference in the national Capital. “A total of 1.06 lakh EVMs to be counted in Bihar.”
The poll body also said that compared to the last Assembly elections, polling stations have gone up by 45%, from 72,723 to 1,06,515 in order to ensure social distancing norms.
Apart from Deputy Election Commissioners Sudeep Jain and Ashish Kundra were also present at the press briefing.
Speaking at around 1.30 pm, Kundra said that nearly 1 crore of the 4.2 crore votes cast in Bihar had been counted.
The Election Commission also countered claims of voting machine tampering, pointing out that the Supreme Court has upheld the integrity of the electronic voting machines on more than one occasion.
“Integrity of EVMs is without any doubt and merits no further clarification,” Jain said.
Earlier during the day, Bihar Chief Electoral officer HR Srinivas had said that the rounds of counting went up to around 35 in this elections, as compared to 25-26 on earlier occasions.
“In some constituencies there are fewer polling stations, counting will conclude in 24-25 rounds. But we also have some constituencies, where there will be 50-51 rounds,” he said, speaking to ANI. “Counting will continue till late evening.”
On Tuesday afternoon, the ruling National Democratic Alliance had gone past the majority mark of 122 seats in the 243-member Assembly in Bihar, but reports suggested that the fight was a close one in a number of seats.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal tweeted expressing confidence about forming government and asked its counting agents to hold their ground at counting stations.