NDA wins absolute majority in Bihar elections, RJD emerges single-largest party
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won an absolute majority in Bihar, winning 122 seats in a closely contested election that saw counting continue stretching over 19 hours and wrapping up only in the early hours on Wednesday. The Mahagathbandhan including Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Congress, and Left parties managed to secure 110 seats in the state's 243-seat legislative assembly.
The first mass election in the country amidst conditions created by COVID-19 has paved the way for the return of Chief Minister Kumar for the fourth successive term in office.
The closely contestested battle saw the Mahagathbandhan narrowing the gap between the two alliances during the day with political parties in fray keeping an eye on the narrow margins.
Counting of votes, which began at 8 am at 55 counting centres, across 38 districts of the state saw BJP leading on two seats and Janata Dal-United on one seat at 3 am on Wednesday.
The counting process was slow as there were 1,06,515 polling stations this time compared to 72,723 in 2015 polls as part of preventive measures against COVID-19.
While BJP performed a stellar role in NDA's victory winning 72 seats, RJD also gave a spectacular performance by bagging 75 seats and emerged as the single largest party in the 243-member Bihar legislative assembly.
The Congress could win only 19 of 70 seats it contested and it impacted the Mahagathbandhan tally.
Among the constituents of NDA, Janata Dal-United (JDU) bagged 42 seats. Four seats went into the accounts of the Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) and 4 to Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular).
Apart from Congress and the RJD, other Mahagathbandhan allies CPI and CPI-M won two seats each while CPI(M-L) secured a win in 12 constituencies.
Among other parties, AIMIM has won five seats, and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has won one seat. One Independent candidate has also won.
Chirag Paswan led-Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) which fielded over 130 candidates only managed to secure only one seat.
RJD secured 23.1 per cent vote share, the highest in this polls, followed BJP with 19.5 per cent. JDU and Congress got vote share of 15.4 per cent and 9.5 per cent respectively.
A delegation of RJD and Congress went to the Election Commission office in Patna and alleged "tampering" in the counting of votes in some constituencies.
After leaving the ECI office, RJD leader Manoj Jha who was part of the delegation said that tampering had been done on over a dozen seats in an effort to change "people's mandate" and added that EC has assured the delegation it will "try to address their grievances".
"There are over dozens of seats where tampering has been done. They are trying to change the people's mandate. Even after all such ill-intended attempts, we will form the government. EC has assured us that they will try to address all our grievances. We trust the EC but not the district administration," Jha told reporters.
Umesh Sinha, Secretary-General, ECI said that the Election Commission has never worked under anybody's pressure.
"All officials and machinery are working sincerely for declaration of Bihar election results," he said.
In 2015 Assembly polls, RJD with 80 seats had emerged as the single largest party in the elections, followed by JD-U (71). BJP was reduced to 53 seats and got the largest vote share (24.42 per cent).
With indication of a NDA victory in sight, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to thank the people of Bihar whom he said clearly stated development as their priority.
"The poor in villages, farmers, labourers, merchants, shopkeepers and every section of Bihar have relied on the NDA's mantra of sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas. I again assure every citizen of Bihar that for the balanced development of every person, every region, we will continue to work with full dedication," he tweeted in Hindi.
"Every voter in Bihar has clearly stated that he or she is an aspirant and priority is only and only development. The blessings of the NDA's good governance again after 15 years in Bihar shows what Bihar's dreams are, what Bihar's expectations are," PM Modi said.