Bihar Exit Poll Results 2020: Projections to begin after voting closes at 6 pm today; 2.34 crore to vote in 3rd phase

Bihar is preparing to vote in the final phase of an election that is anyone's game, as the current BJP-JD(U) dispensation under Nitish Kumar faces an anti-incumbency sentiment and the main Opposition party, RJD, sees a resurgence.

All parties have their hats in the ring with feverish campaigns and an array of star campaigners including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi for the recently-formed Grand Secular Democratic Front.

Exit polls predictions will begin on television channels soon after polls close at 6 pm on Saturday evening. The exit polls will be key in deciphering early trends to project a winner — whether Nitish will be granted a fourth straight term in the Chief Minister's Office or whether the electorate are placing their faith in the "new wave" brought on by Tejashwi's leadership in the RJD.

However, it is important to note that while exit polls are based on the analysis of factors like previous voting patterns and voters' responses after they've cast their vote, it is only speculation about what the result could be. Results will be declared after the counting of votes scheduled for 10 November.

It is also possible for the exit polls predictions to be completely off the mark. "During the 2015 Bihar assembly elections, only one agency had managed to capture the mood in the state which overwhelmingly voted for an alliance led by chief minister Nitish Kumar with him coming to power for the third consecutive term," a Hindustan Times report said.

On Saturday, around 2.34 crore voters spread across 78 segments of the 243-strong Assembly will decide the fate of 1,204 candidates, including the Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, who seeks to a hat-trick in Sarairanjan, and 12 members of the state cabinet.

JD(U) ministers in the fray are Bijendra Prasad Yadav (Supaul), Narendra Narayan Yadav (Alamnagar), Maheshwar Hazari (Kalyanpur), Ramesh Rishideo (Singheshwar), Khurshid alias Firoz Ahmed (Sikta), Lakshmeshwar Roy (Laukaha), Bima Bharti (Rupauli) and Madan Sahni (Bahadurpur). Four ministers are in the fray from the BJP, including Pramod Kumar (Motihari), Suresh Sharma (Muzaffarpur), Binod Narayan Jha (Benipatti) and Krishnakumar Rishi (Banmankhi).

Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Thursday said that the first two phases of the Bihar Assembly election had been completed "reasonably well" despite doomsday predictions by "extreme cynics" about holding the polls amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the voter turnout on 28 October and 3 November was more compared to the corresponding constituencies in the 2015 Assembly polls and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

At the inauguration of the International Virtual Election Visitors Programme, Arora said the poll panel tested the ground by first holding Rajya Sabha elections amid the pandemic. Enthused, it decided to go for Assembly polls in Bihar, he said.

"There was no dearth of sceptics, no dearth of cynics, no dearth of extreme cynics who were making doomsday predictions for us... But here we are so far in a reasonably good shape," he said.

Arora said Bihar elections have shown that election management bodies across the world can hold polls.

Due to the pandemic, nearly 60 countries had postponed polls. Later, countries including Sri Lanka, South Korea, Croatia, and Mongolia held elections.

The Election Commission does meticulous planning for all polls. But this time, the "new dimension" of coronavirus created more challenges, the chief election commissioner said.

Arora told members of election management bodies from various countries who attended the programme that to ensure social-distancing norms, the number of voters per polling station in Bihar was reduced from 1,500 to 1000. This led to an increase in the number of polling stations by nearly 33,000.

Those aged 80 years and above, and those with disabilities were given the option of using a postal ballot. But most of them preferred to go to the polling booth to vote, he said.

Informing the participants that Bihar has had a history of caste tensions and communal issues, Arora said, "Most of it is (in the) past. But still, sometimes smoulderings can be observed."

With inputs from agencies



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