"Needless to say that there has been an absolutely glitch-free counting process so far. Slightly more than 1 crore votes have been counted in Bihar which means that there is significant ground to be covered yet," Chandra Bhushan said.
"This year, there has been 63% increase in the number of polling booths in view of the Covid-19 requirements. A total of 1.06 lakh EVMs to be counted in Bihar," he said, adding, "the counting is happening at 55 locations. Due to the coronavirus, polling officers at each polling booth has been limited to 1,000-1500."
Chandra Bhushan has also said that the Bihar election result is expected to be out only by late-night. "Earlier, the counting of the votes used to take place in 38 locations. Now, due to the coronavirus pandemic guidelines, it is taking place at 55 locations. This time, it will take 35 rounds per assembly constituency to get the Bihar election results," he added.
The ECI's press conference, which was scheduled at 1.30 pm today, included Deputy Election Commissioners Sudeep Jain, Chandra Bhushan Kumar and Ashish Kundra, briefing the media on the current counting trends.
As per officials, trends and declaration of results might take a bit longer in comparison to last assembly elections as polling stations have gone up by 45%, from 72,723 earlier to 1,06,515 in order to ensure adherence to social distancing norms in view of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The NDA has crossed the halfway mark of 122 assembly seats. The ECI trends for 238 of 243 seats show NDA is leading on 125 seats with BJP leading in 70 seats, JDU in 48 seats, VIP in 6 seats and HAM in 1 seat.
Mahagathbandhan is now leading in 101 seats with RJD leading in 62 seats while Congress is at 20 seat, Left at 19 seats. BSP is leading on 1 seat, AIMIM on 2 seats, LJP on 5 seats and independents are ahead on 4 seats as of 11.40 am.
The 69-year-old three-term incumbent Nitish Kumar, and his 31-year-old challenger, Tejashwi Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, are the principal contenders for the chief ministerial chair.
Bihar voted in three phases on 28 October, 3 November and 7 November and the voter turnout in the Bihar assembly election was at 57.05%, slightly higher than the previous election despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.