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55 Counting Centres, 78 CAPF Companies: EC Prepares for November 10 as Bihar Awaits Poll Results

Voters display their identity cards outside a polling station at Paliganj, in Bihar. (AP Photo/Aftab Alam Siddiqui)

Voters display their identity cards outside a polling station at Paliganj, in Bihar. (AP Photo/Aftab Alam Siddiqui)

The maximum three counting centres each have been set up in four districts of East Champaran (which has 12 assembly constituencies), Gaya (10 constituencies), Siwan (eight constituencies) and Begusarai (seven). Rest other districts either have one or two counting centres each.

Patna: The Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for counting of votes on November 10 for the Bihar assembly polls as the state awaits results of a closely-fought election. The poll panel said it has set up a total of 55 counting centres, housing 414 halls, spread across all the 38 districts of the state that voted in three phases on October 28, November 3 and November 7.

The maximum three counting centres each have been set up in four districts of East Champaran (which has 12 assembly constituencies), Gaya (10 constituencies), Siwan (eight constituencies) and Begusarai (seven). Rest other districts either have one or two counting centres each.

Considering the fact that coronavirus is raging in the state, steps have been taken to ensure that COVID guidelines are strictly followed during the counting. Face masks will be mandatory for entering into the counting centres besides sanitisers will be kept in adequate quantity there.

In the state capital Patna, votes for all the 14 assembly constituencies will be counted at just one centre set up at A.N. College. The poll panel said it is readying 30 counting halls at the college.

Bihar Chief Electoral Officer H R Srinivasa said the Election Commission has established a three-tier security system for strong rooms (housing the Electronic Voting Machines) and the counting centres. The inner core is being guarded by the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), then there is the Bihar Military Police (BMP) and then the district police, he told reporters.

"We have deployed 19 companies of CAPF just for the security of the strong rooms and counting centres. Besides, we have 59 CAPF companies to ensure law and order during and in the aftermath of the counting process," he said. One CAPF company comprises around 100 personnel.

The CEO said the Election Commission will strictly deal with any "anti-social" elements who indulges in "hooliganism" during or in the aftermath of the counting. Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters) Jitendra Kumar said CCTV cameras have been installed in the control rooms.

"Their display is in the District Election Officers offices. And they are also being monitored regularly by the Chief Electoral Officer," he said. After the counting commences at 8 am, the postal ballots — cast by staff on poll duty and service voters will be — will be opened first followed by EVM votes.

In Bhagalpur district, which has two counting centres Government Polytechnic College, Barari and Women's ITI — preparations are being made for the November 10 results for seven assembly seats. Display screens are being set up and two tents being erected at each counting centre for journalists and security personnel. Arrangements are being made to put seven tables in each of the 14 halls.

Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) have been imposed in and around the counting centres to prevent gathering of people. In Bhojpur district, the votes for all the seven assembly constituencies will be counted at one centre set up at Bazar Samiti Godown, Arrah.

A majority exit polls released after the third and final round of polls suggest that Tejashwi Yadav-led Mahagathbandhan might have an edge over the NDA. But, who will actually get the magic figure of 122 in the house of 243 will be known only after the votes are counted on Tuesday.

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