Tejaswi Yadav, leader of opposition in the Bihar legislative assembly, today raised questions about the way the votes were counted two days ago.
In particular, Yadav raised questions about the way postal votes were treated by returning officers in several constituencies.
“Our vote share was 37.2% and NDA’s vote share was 37.3%,” Yadav said in his first post-results press conference.
He said the 0.1 percentage point different translated to a difference of 12,270 votes out of a total of 4.21 cr (42.14 million) votes cast in the election.
“How can they win an extra 15 seats with 12,000 extra votes,” he asked, claiming that his front won a “minimum of 130 seats” out of the total 243 seats for which elections were held.
Yadav, however, did not explain how he believed the counting was manipulated.
It should be noted that it is possible for a party or a front to more seats with the same number of votes if its voters are equally distributed across various constituencies, compared to another party or front whose votes are bunched up together in certain areas.
Yadav alleged that a large proportion of postal votes were found defective this time.
“Our candidates were being declared as having lost the election on margins as thin as 17 votes, 50 votes and 150 votes,” Yadav said. “At the same time, postal votes were being declared defective at the rate of 900 votes, 700 votes and 500 votes [in some constituencies],” he said, asking how government servants — who are the ones who usually vote by post — could make so many errors while sending in their postal votes.
He also raised questions about why postal votes were counted last this time. According to the manual of elections of the Election Commission of India, postal votes are always counted before EVM votes are counted.
Yadav said the decision to count postal votes at the end was very puzzling given that they are always the first to be counted.
Yadav countered those who accused him of being a sore loser and were challenging him to produce evidence. “No one is allowed to carry any recording device inside the counting centers.
“If you had allowed us to carry in mobile phones, we would have produced proof,” he claimed.
He urged the Election Commission to release the CCTV footage from counting centers, and also re-examine the rejected postal votes.
RJD has been alleging that the Bihar administration transferred many of the key officials at the district level before the election.
Yadav also urged Chief Minister Nitish Kumar not to end his political career with a controversy and called for greater transparency.