One of India’s biggest elections during the Covid-19 pandemic completed recently, with the winner being declared within 3 days unlike the elections across the Atlantic ocean. In this light, let us look at some facts of Bihar elections of 2020 as well as its differences with the US Elections.
Crux of the Matter
NDA The Winner
National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has won the 2020 Bihar elections. Home Minister Amit Shah of the BJP claimed that “there is no if or but. Nitish Kumar will be the next chief minister of Bihar”. Kumar belongs to the JD(U) of the alliance.
Kumar has been Bihar’s CM since 2005. Jitan Ram Manjhi served as the CM between May 2014 and Feb 2015. NDA has won 125 out of total of 243 seats in 2020.
Who Won How Many Seats?
NDA parties and seats won (total 125):
- Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP): 74.
- Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)): 43.
- Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM): 4.
- Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP): 4.
NDA defeated Mahagathbandhan, which won 110 seats. Mahagathbandhan parties and seats won:
- Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD): 75.
- Congress: 19.
- CPI (Marxist–Leninist) Liberation: 12.
- Communist Party of India (CPI): 2.
- CPI (Marxist): 2.
- All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM): 5 seats.
- Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP): 1 seat.
- Bahujan Samaj Party: 1 seat.
- Independent: 1 seat.
Bihar Election Facts
The 2020 Bihar elections took place in 3 phases:
- Phase 1: 28 October (71 seats)
- Phase 2: 3 November (94 seats)
- Phase 3: 7 November (78 seats)
Around 4.1 crore people voted. Also, the number of polling stations increased to 1,06,526 in 2020 from 65,367 in 2015 to have fewer people per station owing to Covid-19. Postal ballots were also allowed for people:
- Over the age of 80.
- With physical disabilities.
- Covid positive/symptomatic in quarantine.
- In ‘essential services’.
52,000 people chose postal ballot in phase 1 alone.
Changes In Bihar Elections Due To Covid
- New time: 7 AM to 6 PM (instead of 5 PM).
- Thermal screening before entering to vote – people with higher temperature asked to come after 5 PM.
- 5 PM to 6 PM slot for people with Covid positive/symptoms.
- Glove provided to press the EVM button.
- Hand sanitization mandatory.
- No. of voters per booth restricted to 1,000.
- Postal ballot option extended to people with Covid-19 positive/symptoms and in quarantine.
- Restricted door-to-door campaigning – only 5 (including candidate) allowed.
- Nomination form and security money transfer available online.
- Max limit of 5 vehicles in convoys for roadshows.
US Elections 2020
Early voting started before the General elections of 3 November, starting as early as 18 September in Minnesota, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wyoming. 6.5 crore people chose to vote by postal ballot out of the total 15.8 crore votes (projected).
Major Differences In Bihar And US Elections
- Bihar: Elections managed by an independent Election Commission across all state and national elections.
US: Election rules vary with state.
- Bihar: Voted for MLAs (representative of the constituency) – MLAs choose the CM.
US: Voted for elector (different from Representative). Electoral college meets on 14 December – electors choose the President they have promised to the party (defections happen, though rarely). Elections for Representatives are separate from the Presidential elections in the US. Voting for President is the only task of electors.
- Bihar: Result officially announced within 3 days on 10 November.
US: Dates for Certification (official announcement after verification) vary state by state. The dates range from 5 November in Delaware to 11 December in California. All results before Certification are ‘projections’ of media. Delay has occurred as postal ballots are still being counted in several states. A drastic increase in the postal ballot has occurred due to Covid. Candidates usually concede after the projection results – an exception in the case of Trump.
Read More: Trump, Biden And Media Partisanship
- RJD politician Tejaswi Yadav is a former cricketer and was a part of the IPL team ‘Delhi Daredevils’ from 2008 to 2012
- LJP President Chirag Paswan tried his luck in Bollywood too and starred opposite Kangana Ranaut in a Hindi movie Miley Naa Miley Hum in 2011
- The Bihar Legislative Assembly was established in 1937 – 10 years before Indian Independence. The first session of the first Bihar legislative assembly having 152 members had begun on July 22, 1937
- Rachiyahi of Begusarai constituency was the place where the first instance of booth capturing in India was recorded during the General Elections of 1957.
- Ram Vilas Paswan, chief of Lok Janshakti Party holds a Guinness world record for winning with a margin of 4.24 lakh votes. He won the Hajipur constituency (in Bihar) in 1977.
- Financial Express – ‘Biggest election during Covid times’: 10 major changes announced by Election Commission for Bihar polls
- CNBC – Here’s when the results of the 2020 election will be finalized
- Ballotpedia – Election results certification dates, 2020
- The Print – Nitish Kumar — ‘political wizard’ with no solo election win set to become CM 7th time