Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 10
Bihar elections were headed for a nail-biting finish on Tuesday night with the ruling NDA alliance marginally ahead of the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan (MGB) in a cliffhanger contest. With 20 per cent of the 4 crore ballots yet to be counted at 11.30 pm, the Election Commission website showed 123 leads for the BJP-JD(U) alliance and 112 for the RJD, Congress and Left Front coalition.
The ruling NDA was thus just one seat ahead of the simple majority mark of 122 in the 243-member state Assembly with the fight in at least 35 seats too close to call. As the NDA widened its gap, the RJD and Congress alleged foul play. Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala petitioned EC officers in Patna, claiming that one of their candidates had been declared defeated by 1,700 votes when he had “actually won by 600 votes.”
EDIT: Bihar election verdict
The RJD alleged that CM Nitish Kumar was pressuring returning officers to stop the count and declare close seats in favour of the NDA. The BJP leaders trashed the charges. Party spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said, “We live in transparent times where CCTVs and cellphone details are available everywhere. This is not Lalu Prasad’s jungle raj.” Tejashwi Yadav-led RJD emerged as the single largest party with 76 leads to BJP’s 72 (EC trends at 11.30 pm). Overall, the BJP and the Left parties emerged the biggest gainers while CM Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) and the Congress suffered severe blows. The BJP was up several notches from 53 seats it had won in 2015 when it fought on 157 seats against 110 this time.
Social-distancing norms go for a toss
Soon after the celebrations began with “Modi Hai Toh Mumkin Hai” and “Vande Matram” resonating in the air along with the beat of the dhols, social distancing norms went for a toss at the BJP headquarters. — IANS