As leads from the counting of votes showed the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ahead and widening the gap with the opposition in the Bihar election, the BJP refused to launch celebrations. Every party cautioned that the counting would take longer because of the coronavirus safety measures.
Bihar is the first state to vote in the time of COVID-19 and it has impacted the process.
The Election Commission said the number of polling stations was more than doubled this time but the number of tables had not been increased for the sake of distancing.
The counting could go to 35 rounds, so the first clear results could be out later in the afternoon, said the Election Commission.
The number of polling stations were raised from 72,723 earlier to 1,06,515.
Sources in the BJP said the number of rounds would be more, only 10 per cent of the votes had been counted when the NDA was seen crossing the majority mark of 122 in the 243 member assembly.
Sources said the party would hold off on any celebrations or victory declarations and was prepared for a long day.
Usually, before noon, 30 per cent of votes would have been counted.
But the possibility of the results fluctuating was high because in some 30 seats, the margin was less than 500 around 11 am. And in more than 60 seats, it was less than 1,000.
“The picture will only be clear between 12 pm and 2 pm,” said a senior BJP leader.
Though there were ups and downs in the leads, what was consistent was that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United was doing far worse than the BJP, which was keeping up the overall tally.
Bihar voted in three rounds from October 28 to November 7.