Patna, November 10
Bihar assembly elections looked too close to call Tuesday night with the ruling NDA maintaining a slender edge over the RJD-led Grand alliance, winning 81 seats and leading in 41 others.
By 10:00 pm, the RJD, the opposition alliance’s spearhead, overtook the BJP at the top of the table, with 77 seats—clinching 50 seats and leading in 27 others. The BJP’s number stands just under at 72—the party has 46 seats and is leading in 26.
NDA partner JD (U) has won 28 seats and is leading in 14—a major backslide for the party that had won 71 seats when it fought the 2015 assembly polls in alliance with the RJD. The VIP has won three seats and is leading in one more, while the HAM has won four seats.
The NDA has won or is leading in 122 seats—exactly the halfway mark needed to make government. The Grand Alliance is nine seats behind in his very close battle—the alliance has won 72 seats and is leading in 41 more. RJD’s co-traveller, the Congress, has won 10 seats and leads one eight. Allies CPI-M has won two seats, CPI has won one and leading on two and CPI-ML has won nine and is leading in three.
Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM is emerging as a surprise package, winning three seats and leading in two others. It had won a seat in a by-election in Bihar earlier, but appears to be making significant inroads in the Seemanchal region which has a large presence of Muslim voters.
Given his aversion to the BJP, Owaisi could be more than willing to lend a helping hand to the Grand Alliance if it falls short of a majority by a few seats.
The LJP, down in the dumps having pulled a blank these elections, appeared to have contributed its bit to the unimpressive showing of the JD(U), damaging its prospects in at least 30 seats, according to the latest trends.
Chirag Paswan’s party, which walked out of the NDA in Bihar just ahead of the poll, is set to fare abysmally as it has neither won nor is leading in any seat despite polling 5.63 per cent of the 2.70 crore votes counted so far.
JD (U) spokesperson KC Tyagi told PTI in New Delhi that a “sinister” campaign was run against Nitish Kumar as part of a “conspiracy”.
“Apne bhi shamil the aur begane bhi (Our own also harmed us along with the outsiders),” he said, without taking any names.
He, however, expressed confidence that Kumar will become the chief minister again, noting that top BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have made it clear that he will head the government if the ruling NDA retains power.
Bihar BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal voiced similar views in Patna when he said in Patna “the issue has been cleared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief J P Nadda much before the elections”.
Senior Bihar minister Vijendra Prasad Yadav of JD (U) won from Supual, and Niraj Singh Babloo of the BJP, a cousin of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, whose mysterious death became an election issue, retained the Chhatapur seat.
HAM president Jitan Ram Manjhi defeated former state assembly speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary in Imamganj of Gaya district.
Lesi Singh of the JD(U) won the Dhamdaha seat in Purnia district. It was while campaigning for her that Nitish Kumar had declared it was going to be the last election for him, making an emotional appeal to electors to vote the NDA back to power. — PTI