Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday claimed that the NDA has won the Bihar elections. “Today is a historic day. NDA has once again won the extraordinary trust of the people of Bihar. They trusted PM Modi's leadership whose commitment resonated with them that without development of Bihar, development of India will remain incomplete,” Prasad told ANI.
However, the Election Commission is yet to complete counting of votes. “Out of the 243 seats in the Bihar assembly, results have been declared for 223 seats. Final tally will be available by 2.00am,” EC officials said on Wednesday.
A little earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a series of tweets, “The youth of Bihar have made it clear that new decade will be of Bihar and for self-reliant Bihar. People's blessings to NDA's good governance even after 15 years of rule show what are Bihar's dreams and expectations. Bihar taught the world the first lesson of democracy and today again it has told the world how democracy is strengthened. I assure every citizen of Bihar that NDA govt will work with full dedication for balanced development of every person, every region.”
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Union Home Minister Amit Shah also thanked the people of Bihar. In a series of tweets in Hindi, Shah said, "Bihar has once again chosen the development politics of NDA and has rejected casteism and appeasement politics. I thank all the brothers and sisters of the state from the core of my heart for re-choosing development, progress and good governance.”
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The RJD, overtook the BJP at the top of the table, clinching 30 seats with its nominees leading in 47 others. The BJP won 32 seats, while it was leading in 40 others, the data uploaded on the EC website at 9.30pm stated. Meanwhile, Chirag Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party won one seat.
Amid the stalemate, the Election Commission announced that counting of votes will take longer than usual and continue till late in the night because of 63 per cent increase in the number of EVMs.
On Tuesday evening, Union home minister Amit Shah on Tuesday dialled Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as the two leaders talked about the Bihar poll results and trends, sources close to the JD(U) president said. Though the sources refused to divulge the details of their telephonic conversation, they said they discussed the poll results and trends.
NDA partner JD(U) won 20 seats and was leading in 22 places, in a major slide for the party that had won 71 seats when it fought the 2015 Assembly polls in alliance with the RJD. The VIP has won two seats and its candidates were leading in two more, while the HAM has won the Imamganj seat and was leading in two constituencies.
The NDA has won or is leading in 122 seats, just eight more than the Grand Alliance whose partners were ahead in 114 seats. RJD's ally, the Congress, has won seven seats and its nominees are leading in 12 others, while the CPI-ML has pocketed six and is leading in six others.
If the current trend continues, the NDA could end up tantalisingly close to the 122 mark required for a simple majority, but there could be many a slip between the cup and the lip with the opposition alliance rapidly closing the gap.
Not only has the RJD edged past the BJP in terms of numbers but also garnered more votes. While the saffron party has polled 19.39 per cent votes, the RJD clinched 23.43 per cent.
Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi's AIMIM is emerging as a surprise package, winning two seats and leading in three 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 pathological 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 itself, 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 K C 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".
As the contest looks like going down to the wire, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, a former Bihar RJD chief, and party supremo Lalu Prasad's Man Friday Bhola Yadav lost from Keoti and Hayaghat seats in Darbhanga respectively.
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.
Sources said Tejashwi Yadav has won from Raghopur defeating Satish Kumar of the BJP but an official confirmation is awaited. His elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav is also leading in Hasanpur.
State Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary is leading from Sarairanjan in Samastipur district, while ministers Shravan Kumar (Nalanda) and Krishna Nandan Prasad Verma (Jehanabad) are also ahead of their rivals.
Ace former shooter and Commonwealth gold medalist Shreyasi Singh of BJP is leading from Jamui, but veteran socialist leader Sharad Yadav's daughter Subhashini is trailing in Bihariganj.
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. Whether the voters have heeded his appeal only time will tell.
With the three Left parties bagging seven seats and leading in 10 others in Bihar, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury warned naysayers against writing them off, saying had they been given more seats, they would have notched up higher numbers in the elections.
To read how events unfolded throughout the day click here.